POD on an iPad

21 04 2011

The Cosmonaught Capactive Pen

This works on iPads/Iphones, Android and WP7 devices.

We’re getting one here for our iPads and if you want a closer look then just go here and find out more!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Motorola Rugged PDA Range Explained

13 04 2011
Motorola Field Mobile Rugged PDA's

Motorola Field Mobile Rugged PDA’s

Motorola Rugged PDA’s are the best known and still the most widely sold PDA’s in the Rugged market and as such Motorola remains the largest Rugged PDA Manufacturer in our market today.

Brief History

Everyone knows who Motorola is, and today there is a distinct split in how Motorola engage with their customers.  The “Mobility” Side is all about mobile phones and Android tablets, but the “Solutions” side is where we sit here.  Motorola bought their way into the Rugged PDA market with the acquisition of Symbol technologies in 2006, a very well-known and respected rugged PDA player back in the day.  In fact you still see the Symbol brand being used today which is testament to the strength it once had.

What Motorola has done with the Symbol brand since then has been to introduce a broader set of upgraded devices that have leant on the size and reputation of both brands in order to maintain its number 1 position in the UK .


As the largest player in the market Motorola has a broad reach and appeal.  It serves the field mobile market well with its MC55/65, 75 and semi rugged ES400 devices and has a range of devices for the warehouse and crossover between the two.  It really is difficult to fault Motorola devices in isolation and they will tend to do the job asked of them.  They’re not particularly innovative though, OK they have good scanners but they are leading the way incrementally standardising their products across the globe rather than delivering to the needs of the customers and emerging technologies right now.


Pricing is near the top of the scale, some of this is more about brand these days than the hardware.  Newer models, like the MC65 are stated to have minimal increases in pricing but in reality they have gone up to the average customer by about 15% by not offering some of the options the older devices did like 1D scanning.

"Wearing" Motorola Rugged PDA's

“Wearing” Motorola Rugged PDA’s (WT4000 on right)


You can broadly split the Motorola PDA range up into 2 streams:

Field mobile (See image above):

  • ES400 - Semi Rugged, low cost device.
  • MC65 – Lightweight fully rugged PDA
  • MC75A – Heavy Rugged PDA
  • MC9500 – Cross


  • MC1000 – CE based batch scanner
  • MT2000 – Phaser style CE batch scanner
  • MC3000 - Lightweight warehouse Rugged PDA
  • MC9090G – heavy weight Gun style Rugged PDA.
  • WT4000 – Wearable PDA.
Motorola Warehouse Style Mobile Rugged PDA's

Motorola Warehouse Style Mobile Rugged PDA’s

Newest models and Recent Highlights

  • Q3 2010  – Motorola ES400
  • Q1 2011 – MC65
  • Range of healthcare antimicrobial cased devices for MC55A, MC75A.
  • Blockbuster 2D barcode scanner.

The Rugged and Mobile Take

The negatives of dealing with Motorola are that every man and his dog sells them and this has been heightened by recent moves to sell through alternative channels to the expert resellers.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to compete against someone who wants your money but not your phone calls for help.  We also find the company becoming more and more corporatised and customers with specific requirements where they need to work more empirically with us to deliver the best solution are the area we are seeing Motorola starting to lose the battle.  Too expensive, there is better for less and big is not necessarily better in the modern world of today.

Having said this Motorola still make decent kit, they’re the “Ford” of our market with devices that are hard to fault and do the job at hand.  You’ll see plenty of old MC9090G’s still being used in supermarkets and that has to be a good sign.  Motorola are at risk of a new wave of newer, better and more innovative devices that are better suited to the way business is going to be in the new future and who work better with resellers.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the No2 in the UK and Motorola’s largest rival, Intermec.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Rugged PDA Manufacturers

11 04 2011
Rugged PDA Manufacturers

Rugged PDA Manufacturers

So we’ve been looking at Rugged PDA’s and Barcode scanners from the same typical “category” point of view and someone here pointed out that since we spend so much time carefully selecting the manufacturers we sell here, perhaps we should do a series of articles looking at each Rugged PDA manufacturer in isolation.

Looking at each Rugged PDA Supplier in this way is a really great idea because whilst looking across the manufacturers in each category shows you choice, looking at each Rugged PDA manufacturer can help people understand more about the categories available to them.  In some cases like Motorola and Pidion Rugged PDA’s there’s an end to end offering that can help customers understand the whole rugged handheld gamut more easily.

We’ll take you through each manufacturer we sell (they’re not all on our website!) and firstly explain a little bit about the manufacturer, where they have come from, their future, where they see themselves and the pro’s and cons at a  manufacturer level.  I think a lot of this information is ill-served in the Rugged Handheld market because a lot of resellers out there are looking to just sell, rather than sell the right device into their customers.

Add to this we’ll then look at the Rugged PDA range of each rugged PDA supplier and take you through the differences and the reason why you would buy say an MC65 and or MC75A or perhaps why you’d choose a CN70 over a CN50.

We’ll of course add our own opinion gained from lots of our own experience here.

We’ll start today with the largest player in our market Motorola Rugged PDA’s.

I’ve been asked to list all the articles in this series right and will add as we go along:

1. Motorola

2. Intermec

3. Pidion

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Startrek Rugged PDA’s!

8 04 2011
Beyond the Rugged PDA!

Beyond the Rugged PDA…Far Beyond!

It’s Friday, it has been a long week and I just got read a great white paper on implanted technology that made me want to take the Friday blog on this week.  I’m a Startrek fan, not a trekky but I do love a bit of Star Trek now and then (next generation for me any day!).  I caught myself watching a re-run the other night and realised that half the stuff they use is in our every day lives, for real now.  So with no new Star trek series to rely on for the past few years I wonder what will be next?

We have small medical scanners that can see inside our bodies, we have little devices that show a wealth of biometric information on them and all you have to do is clip them on your finger and with these we practically have the medical “tri-corder”.  We can locate people at the touch of a button (If they have given us permission of course) and track them in minute detail.

We can also get hold of, talk to and even video conference with anyone with the right application to do so.  I’m guessing iPhone users will find that last bit a lot easier to do with Facetime!  We can also get every bit of information a PDA has stored or has performed and then mash it up to create fantastic new knowledge about what our business needs to do.  There’s so much data there it’s frightening and it’s not what we collect but how we merge and use it that matters these days.

Augmented Reality

What particularly interests us here is augmented reality, isn’t that just so startrek “Main viewer” and it’ll only be a matter of time before we use this technology in full to help deliver parcels, find products in supermarkets and to also give people who couldn’t do something an easy way to do it.  But wait, that’s not all.  We’re also seeing more and more implants and robotic devices that are designed to become part of our very being and not only that but letting these devices just talk to each other instead of to a human is also a prospect that is becoming more every day than exciting new idea.We don’t wonder what a world like this looks like because you don’t have to wonder too much as its here, but what we do wonder about is the role of the Rugged PDA and data capture in this new wonderfully data rich world.

Being serious about all of this, I think we’re seeing a real acceleration and shift in the Rugged PDA market.  We’re already seeing a shift to thin and slim.  Ruggedness is being taken as the assumed, not a USP and everything is getting smaller and more powerful and being asked to do more.  If you look beyond the current issues then you’ll see a very different world ahead of us.

All I need my trusty smartphone to do now is to beam me from place to place and I’ll be happy!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Honeywell Dolphin 99EX Announced

1 04 2011
Honeywell Dolphin 99EX

Honeywell Dolphin 99EX

Honeywell are definitely going in a certain direction with their rugged PDA’s and the Dolphin 99EX certainly doesn’t buck this trend.  The 99EX is another “Warehousy” looking device that is trying to do the whole thing from warehouse to field mobile.

You can see the form factor in the images is clearly derived from the warehouse market and will make the devices a little fiddly for the field mobile crew who need good numeric style or qwerty keyboards in a certain config.

Honeywell’s President states “…with the introduction of the 99EX, we have reinvented the performance standards that should be expected of the entire data capture industry…”  So we explored what is new about this device.

The long life battery (You have to purchase the extended one on top) has been around for years and Intermec with their CN70 series have this currently sewn up in our view with some really fascinating and innovative tech apparently getting the best battery life in the market.  Software definable radios have been seen in Motorola’s new devices already and we still can’t understand how this is any benefit to most UK based businesses we sell to.

IP67 rating and drop specs of 6ft are not unique and whilst this device will have a degree of ruggedness known to Honeywell devices, there’s nothing new about this at all.  You can also argue why you would need an IP67 device above an IP65 one?  Whats the point unless you work by swimming pools in by the sea!?

Light and proximity sensors are bundled in, that’s because they are on new mainboards anyway, it’s a bit like saying it has WLan built in so it will largely depend on how the Dolphin 99EX actually uses these sensors that will make the offering unique.  A demo app showing the X,Y,Z axis/yaw is getting pretty boring on all these new devices to be honest!

It does have a 3.7″ LCD, this is the same size used on the Psion IKON and it’s hardly noticeable at this size but with the NIT rating it could be touted as the largest, brightest screen on the market in this style of Rugged PDA..

It is the first device in the rugged market to tout Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 (The new version of Windows Mobile to you and me) but this is just a timing thing really.

The only thing we can see is that the Adaptus 6 scanner will be seen for the first time in this device.  The Adaptus scanner is good, the Motorola Blockbuster is now better in our opinion and the newer Intermec scanners are also very good but not officially tested just yet.  It won’t be long though before we see the Adpatus 6 OEM’d in all the cheaper Rugged PDA’s though no doubt.

Overall, a nice device but it really does very little to stir my passion at all which was lost long ago with Honeywell devices if I’m being honest.  What Honeywell needs to do is launch something fab and innovative into this market.  Battery life, ruggedness and service/support are being done better by everyone else these days.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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