July 2014

HP unveils the first Android-powered laptop
Though Android dominates the smartphone market and has a very strong position in tablets, until now Google's OS platform was not available for desktops and conventional notebooks (the Chromebook with its limited offline functionality doesn't really count). That has now changed with the new HP SlateBook, a full-function, quad-core Tegra 4-powered notebook with a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel 10-point multi-touch screen, and running Android 4.3. The Slatebook weighs 3.7 pounds, offers up to 9 hours of battery life from its 32 WHr battery, has USB 3.0 and HDMI, 16GB of eMMC storage, a full-size keyboard, and starts at US$429. Android availability on desktops and laptops may change everything. [See HP SlateBook page and spec sheet] -- Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by chb

Advances in capacitive touch and passive capacitive pens
RuggedPCReview.com just finished reviewing the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1, and we ended up calling it a "milestone product" because of its novel and unique passive capacitive stylus that can greatly increase productivity because it allows for far greater precision when using the Windows desktop than touch alone or earlier capacitive pens. This article describes the past and current situation of touch in rugged tablet computers, and why the technology employed by Panasonic in the FZ-M1 is so relevant. [Read Advances in capacitive touch and passive capacitive pens] -- Posted Saturday, July 26, 2014 by chb

Compass Intelligence US Smartphone Forecast
Dr. J. Gerry Purdy reported that Compass Intelligence has just completed its annual five-year smartphone forecast. Compass estimates 175 million smartphone shipments and 278 million subscribers in the US in 2018. Smartphones now represent 89% of all new phone sales, and 69% of all active subscriber phones. Apple and Samsung have 70% of all shipments. Android currently has 53.1% share and iOS 34.5%. Consumers represent 65% of the market, business 35%. The majority of new phones have 5" or larger screens. Compass research subscribers get a copy of the full smartphone forecast report including all the detailed market share breakouts and explanations. -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 by chb

Neonode and Magneti Marelli jointly develop automotive HMI solutions
Neonode, the company that once launched the pioneering (yet overlooked in the market) N1 and N2 smartphones with optical touch screens, announced it started a collaboration with automotive systems supplier Magneti Marelli in Human Machine Interfaces for the automotive sector. These optical touch-based HMIs will present new methods of interacting with in-car infotainment, telematics and control systems, with focus on intuitive use, speed, and safety. [See Neonode press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 by chb

Review: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1
Panasonic's Toughpad FZ-M1 is a fully rugged Intel Core i5-based Windows tablet with a 1280 x 800 pixel 7-inch IPS capacitive multi-touch display that can handle gloves and liquids. Highly configurable via a bolt-on I/O module, the 1.25-pound Toughpad delivers impressive performance with its Y-Series Haswell chip, and its novel capacitive pen completely redefines the state-of-the-art. [See full review of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1] -- Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by chb

Juniper Archer 2 Torture Video -- A behind-the-scenes look
Those nice, friendly people at Juniper Systems in Logan, Utah, can be really mean and twisted when it comes to testing their own rugged handhelds. And they even document their cruel and unusual treatment of their fine technology that surely deserves better than beaten up, clubbed, stepped on, scratched, tossed and run over. For a behind the scenes look at how they abused an Archer 2 handheld for a YouTube video, see Behind-the-Scenes Look – Archer 2 Torture Video. -- Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by chb

Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs, mostly at Nokia
Microsoft announced a restructuring plan to simplify its organization and align the recently acquired Nokia Devices and Services business with the company’s overall strategy. These steps will result in the elimination of up to 18,000 positions over the next year. Of the total, about 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated through synergies and strategic alignment of the Nokia Devices and Services business acquired by Microsoft on April 25. [See Microsoft press release] -- Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 by chb

Case study: Winmate rugged tablets in vehicle diagnostics
Almost all of our automotive systems are being controlled and monitored by computers. To improve the quality and reduce errors in these systems, Automotive OEMs and suppliers are requiring good diagnostic tools to detect and discover any failures which appear in automotive systems. When Daimler was looking to upgrade their vehicle diagnostic equipment. Winmate’s next generation 8.4” tablet running Windows 7 was the perfect tool for the job. [See Winmate rugged tablets in vehicle diagnostics] -- Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 by chb

Added: Data Ltd. DLI 9008
With the DLI 9008, Data Ltd offers a remarkably light and handy, yet still rugged, Intel Bay Trail-powered tablet computer primarily intended for retail and hospitality deployment. The DLI 9008 has a 8-inch indoor/outdoor 1024 x 768 XGA display with projected capacitive touch. Note the innovative 5-in-1 module that attaches to the back of the tablet and offers scanning, RFID, MSR, keypad, and smart card reading. [See description, analysis and specs of the Data Ltd DLI 9008] -- Posted Friday, July 11, 2014 by chb

Panasonic updates Toughpad FZ-G1 10-inch rugged Windows tablet with Haswell and complementary technology
Panasonic announced upgrades to the Toughpad FZ-G1 fully-rugged 10-inch tablet. They include a move to a quicker 4th gen Intel "Haswell" Core i5, Windows 8.1 Pro, better battery life (up to 10 hours), an optional bridge battery, improved multi-touch that can handle rain and gloves, optional self-encrypting drives, a much higher resolution camera (8mp vs. 3mp), faster WiFi, optional UHF RFID and contactless smart card reader. The original FZ-G1 scored some of the best benchmark numbers we'd seen, and these tech upgrades make it even quicker. [See Panasonic press release and our updated FZ-G1 review] -- Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 by chb

Added: Panasonic rugged 5-inch Toughpads FZ-E1 and FZ-X1
Added: description, specs and analysis of Panasonic's 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. [See description, specs and analysis of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1] -- Posted Monday, July 7, 2014 by chb

Doyle Security successfully implements Mi-Corporation Mi-Forms mobile e-forms
Mi-Corporation, which is best known for its enterprise-class e-forms, announced that Doyle Security Systems is realizing significant expense control and productivity gains following the first four months using its new digital sales order entry system. Doyle Security Systems had successfully moved its entire paper-based sales order entry system to a digital system using Mi-Forms mobile forms software on iPads. [See Mi-Co video customer testimonial] -- Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by chb