1. Rugged Mobile Device features ?
There are a huge amount of features which are needed to fulfil the different mobile worker user types. Here are some core essential features that should be considered.
Operating System – There is quite a few choices when it comes to OS and that choice is about to expand. Currently most Rugged devices are either running MS Embedded CE 6 or MS Windows Mobile 6.5. There are still some units around running Palm OS and even some legacy devices running MsDos. However increasingly devices are also running Android 2.3x. And next year it will be interesting to see impact of Android 4x and Microsoft embedded 8.
Size and Weight – Batteries make up the main weight of a Rugged, normally they are not integrated like they are on Apple mobile products. But designed to be very easy to change. So the compromise here is between weight and length of use. The big three consumers of power being Screen backlight, scanning and radio communications. Screen size, resolution, quality and touch characteristics. Some devices are keyboard less, however if they running CE or WM 6.5 they are really still legacy pen devices rather than touch devices. This problem will be resolved by the introduction of Android and Windows embedded 8 devices.
Processor, RAM, ROM, Flash and hardware spec – A good rugged mobile needs a efficient, fast and robust specification in this area. Most rugged mobiles use a single PCB board and surface mount components which makes the innards of the device very rugged.
Bar code Scanners or camera – How quickly does the scanner read bar codes, what barcode types are supported and what is the resolution of the camera.
RFID Reader – Are these built in, or can they be snapped in easily or is it an external device using Bluetooth?
Physical Keyboards – Typically you have choices of Numeric, Alpha or Alpha Numeric keyboards, these change the usability of the device depending on the mobile workers needs.
Phone network 3G / GPRS capabilities – Will the rugged device be able to communicate whilst in the field? How fast is the connection and how robust when signal strength fails?
WiFi Wireless networking – How well does the rugged mobile connect and remain connected to the companies or home WiFi network.
Bluetooth – Needed for connecting to other rugged devices such as another mobile,
Sound – This could simply be a very effective ‘beep’ when a barcode is scanned, or it could be a system that allows the rugged device to talk to the operator. For instance in a warehouse picking operation.
Voice recognition – Can the device recognise key commands and numeric measurements from the mobile worker, this can be very helpful for hands free operation.
Replacement batteries and chargers.
Cradle options – In vehicle or back at base Cradles used for charging and possible
PDA Repair and support – Can a faulty device be sent to a local repair centre and how soon can it be returned fixed.
Ruggedness – Usually defined as to parameters, an IP rating and as a drop to concrete measurement.
GPS is also an important capability. It is used to capture location of the mobile worker, helps in map applications, geo-fencing, geo-tracking etc
2. Android OS devices
Casio V-T500 – Android 5 tablet 10″, IP54, 1m drop
Pidion HM40 – WM6.5 or Android, IP54, 1.2m drop.
Pidion BM170 – Android 2.3
Utano T180 – Android 2.3.5, Dual Sim, IP67
Skeye Dart / Allegro Getac PS236 Android 2.2 no phone.
Trimble Juno T41/T42 – IP65/68 Android 2.3.4
Motorola MC40 – Android 2.3.4
Motorola ET1 – Android Tablet 2.3.4
Panasonic – Tough Pad A1/B1 – Android tablets
Pidion BP50/70 – Android tablets
Raptor R7 – Andoid tablet, IP54
3. Windows Mobile / Embedded (A Sample of market)
Pidion HM40 – WM6.5, IP54, 1.2M drop
Motorola ES400 / MC 55 – IP54
Motorola MC67 – WM6.5, IP67, 1M drop
Motorola MC 65– WM6.5, IP65
Casio IT800 – WM65, IP65 1.5M drop
Trimble Juno T41/T42 – IP65/68 WE6.5 / Android 2.3.4
Intermec CK3X/3R – WE6.5
Dotel H300 – WM6.1/6.5
Janon XM60 / 65 / 66 – WM6.5
Datalogic Elf / Jet / Pegaso
Socket SoNo 650
Mobile Campia M3
Honeywell Dolphin 6000
Psion Teklogix Ep10 / Workabout Pro G2 / Ikon / Omnix
4. Palm OS
Aceeca MEZ1000/1500 – Palm OS
Janan XP20/30 – Palm OS
David Clavey, Mobility, Capgemini UK