June 2014

7-inch tablet prices keep dropping
Digitimes reports that the lowest price point for a 7-inch tablet dropped to below US$80 in June 2014. And unlike earlier low-cost tablets that didn't measure up, even inexpensive tablets now offer almost the same specs as top-of-the-line models. This puts increasing pressure on high-end, premium-priced tablets from the likes of Samsung. (And it also makes you wonder if a decent smartphone really should cost US$700...). -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 by chb

OLED Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out
DisplayMate — which is an industry standard for optimizing, calibrating, testing, evaluating and comparing all types of displays — published a very detailed analysis of the 2560 x 1600 pixel OLED displays used in Samsung's new Tab S tablets, and called them "best performing tablet display that we have ever tested." Ultra-high resolutions will eventually find their way into rugged products as well, where they will be much appreciated for GIS/GPS and other deployments that require the highest display resolutions possible. [See OLED Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 by chb

Keep an eye on IoT — the Internet of Things
ABI Research estimates that the number of developers involved in Internet of Things (IoT) activities will reach 1.7 million globally by the end of 2014. The size of the ecosystem is expected to exceed 3 million developers in 2019, approximately 10% of all software developers. This is certain to have a massive impact on the rugged computing and embedded systems markets. [See ABI Research release] -- Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 by chb

Motorola Solutions unveils rugged MC3200 handheld available with either Windows Embedded Compact or Android
Motorola Solutions introduced the third generation of one of the industry's most successful mid-range rugged mobile computers. The new enterprise-class MC3200 retains the MC3000 Series flexibility with three form factors and three keypads, but is now based on new dual-core OMAP4 processors and is available either Windows Embedded Compact 7.0 or with Android 4.1 with Moto's Mx extensions that add enterprise security and support. The new models retain complete accessory compatibility from any MC3000 Series handheld. -- Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by chb

Panasonic introduces two 5-inch rugged Toughpads
Panasonic introduced new rugged 5-inch enterprise-class handheld tablet platform available in both Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld (the Toughpad FZ-E1) and Android 4.2.2 (the Toughpad FZ-X1) versions. Externally virtually identical but with slightly different electronics, both versions have 14-hour hot-swappable batteries, FIPS 140-2 Level 1 security, and sunlight-readable HD capacitive 1280 x 720 pixel touchscreens that work with gloves. The devices can survive drops up to ten feet, are IP65/IP68 sealed, and can handle extreme temperatures. There's 802.11ac WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, dual cameras, optional 4G LTE, barcode scanner, MSR and more. Pricing starts at US$1,799 for the Android version and US$1,899 for the WEH 8.1 version. Our detailed descriptions and analysis to follow soon. -- Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by chb

Full review: GammaTech Durabook S15H
The Gammatech Durabook S15H, successor to the company's earlier Durabook S15C, is a 6.6-pound notebook computer designed to be tougher and more durable than standard consumer notebooks, but without the extra size, weight and cost of a fully rugged design. It's a very solid, trust-inspiring machine with a large 15.6-inch wide-format display, good connectivity, and good day-to-day functionality. We put an Intel Haswell Core i5-4300M version through its paces and came away impressed. [See full review of the GammaTech Durabook S15H] -- Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by chb

Cool and useful gear: StarTech's 7-port USB charger
Every now and then we need to mention some of the truly useful gadgets that come into our lab, that we end up using all the time, and that a lot of our readers out there could probably use, too. One such gadget is StarTech's 7-port USB charger. It's amazing how nice it is to charge all your gear at once and use only one wall outlet. [See StarTech 7-Port USB Charging Station] -- Posted Monday, June 16, 2014 by chb

Smith Micro delivers Android and Windows 8.1 connectivity and security solutions for enterprise and public sector
Smith Micro announced the release of two new QuickLink Mobility solutions targeted for enterprises and public safety agencies. QuickLink Mobile VPN for Android and QuickLink Unified Connection & Security Manager for Windows 8.1 provide flexibility and control to expand mobile security and connectivity to a variety of mobile devices beyond legacy Windows-based platforms. Smith Micro said that in many industries where field equipment must be ruggedized, demand for smaller form factors is driving rapid replacement of larger laptops to ruggedized Windows 8.1 and Android tablets and smartphones. [See press release] -- Posted Friday, June 13, 2014 by chb

Technology achievement: RAM Mounts IP65-sealed 2.5-pound composite docking station
It's always been our belief that docks should be just as rugged and well-sealed as the devices they are being used for. That's what RAM Mounts offers with their new RAM docking station for the Harris RF-3590 rugged Android tablet. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, the dock carries an IP65 ingress protection rating and can be mounted in numerous ways. [See description and analysis of the RAM IP65 sealed dock and the RAM IP65 product page] -- Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 by chb

Magellan celebrates 25th anniversary of the first commercial handheld GPS, the NAV 1000
It's hard to imagine life without GPS. GPS is everywhere, but few people probably know that the consumer handheld GPS just celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Magellan NAV 1000 shipped in May 1989 and revolutionized marine navigation with its handy size, portability, price and low power consumption. There weren't high-res maps that you could zoom and pan back then; the NAV 1000 just provided the user with an LCD readout of latitude and longitude expressed in degrees and minutes. For a great article on all this, check Commerical GPS Turns 25: How the Unwanted Military Tech Found Its True Calling by maskable.com. [See Magellan press release] -- Posted Monday, June 9, 2014 by chb