Letter and Block Recogniser on Windows Mobile 6.5

30 03 2012

WM6.5 Device often don't have the full recognisers enabled (Left).  After the fix they're all back (Right)

The block and letter recognizer function on the SIP keyboard in Windows Mobile 6.5 has largely been taken away as an option on rugged PDA’s but in most cases it’s still there, you just have to expose it.

Now it’s not as easy to just give you a reg key in this case because they’re all stored in different locations on different devices.  However we do have a great CAB file that should work on most.  For those of you who are really in to doing this manually then you’re looking for the “SIPInputMethod” key and setting it to 1.  It should be in the HK Classes Root folder somewhere.

The way you do this is to just tweak a few values in your registry or ask us for a cab file here and hey presto the options are back.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Buying a Rugged PDA – Top 7 Things to Check

29 03 2012
Accessories can make the difference between an awkward and efficient mobile solution

Accessories can make the difference between an awkward and efficient mobile solution

Yesterday we looked at Spec and features and today we’re looking at Accessories.  Rugged PDA’s all come with a varying degree of accessories which can be a make or break for your device.  We list the main ones you should be looking for right here.

6. Accessories

We’ll try to do this in order of importance but of course this will be different for each customer.

  • Cases - Check out the case options.  Are there any choices with cases or holsters, can you customise them at all and are they cheap or properly rugged?
  • Stylus – Are there options for the stylus, are they cheap to replace and are they decent quality?
  • Does the reseller also have all the items that will keep you going throughout the life of the device.  Styles, hand straps, LCD protectors and spares?
  • Batteries - Do they come in different sizes and are these easy and cheap to replace.  You will need new batteries at some point.
  • Cradles - Single desktop USB cradles range in price from £40 to over £120 for some devices.  Whats in the box?  Can you get a quad cradle, ethernet option or charge only versions?
  • Cables and snap ons.  What exist to help you connect to the PDA directly?  Can you charge with a small cable, sync and connect to other devices at all?
  • Vehicle accessories – Chargers, cradles etc all need to be considered.  Buy cheap ones at your peril as these will burn the Rugged Handheld out over time.
  • Price - Check out the pricing of the accessories and assess how much these are going to cost you over the 3-5 year life of your device.  It can all add up to horrendous amounts.

lastly always check what you get in the box.  For instance with a Motorola or Intermec device you get nothing.  You don;t even get a charger which you have to add in to the price.  With Pidion or Dotel it’s the opposite with cradles and all leads and more in the box already.

Tomorrow we’ll count down to Number 5 and look at the general Ruggedness and quality of the device.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Buying a Rugged PDA – Top 7 Things to Check

27 03 2012
Rugged PDA Features - CPU, RAM and ROM can differ enormously

Rugged PDA Features – CPU, RAM and ROM can differ enormously

So you have your rugged PDA loan device, it all looks great, your users seem happy with it but what do you really need to look out for.  Back from a little holiday yesterday!  Today I wanted to do a series of articles all aimed at the layman and all things to quickly look for when you’re buying a Rugged PDA.

7. Usability and spec

In at 7 is how well specced and how many features the device has.  The least you should do is look at the spec sheet and compare to other devices in the market or ask your reseller to do that for you.  Things that you need to look for in a spec are:

  • CPU - Marvell are still the best in our view.  It’s just the way they are put together and then how open they are.  The PXA320 is superb and the latest you’ll find in 2011/12 in the rugged market .  Samsung make great processors and we’ll see 1GHz version of this chip in the next few months too.
  • RAM - 256MB is fine for most jobs.  the rule of thumb is that more is better, NAND RAM is very nice, ask about it!
  • OS - Windows Mobile 6.5 has actually been superceded now for Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 but both are very similar OS’s.  WM6.1 is getting a little bit long int the tooth however many devices will come upgraded or have one on the roadmap.  Check out if they’re free and when they’ll be here as there are some very nice Rugged PDA’s that are still WM6.1 that will be upgraded in the next few weeks or months.
  • LCD - QVGA is still fine, is cheap to repair/replace and for most jobs you won’t even notice.  VGA is the current top spec in our market.  You need to be buying the QVGA/VGA ratio though to make sure existing apps will port on and off easily.  All rugged PDAs have resistive touch screens that can be used with a style.  Capacitive screens are not great for our market…..just yet.
  • 3G – Does the Rugged Handheld come with 3G, GPRS or both as an option?  what level of 3G does it have (3, 3.5, 3.75, 3.9)?  There are still good arguments for all of these.  Poor 3G chips are often the reason a device is “Cheap”.
  • GPS - Again this is an area that is often skimped on.  Stick a demo GPS app on the device and make sure it fires up quickly when hot and cold.
  • WiFi - Check how well the device connects to WiFi and roams.  Also check if there are any CCX or SUmmit chips available in the device as an option or as standard as these really help with WiFi dependent solutions.
  • Battery – Li-POL are appearing in this market now and are very, very good.  Other than that size is important here but some devices will sip power better than others.
  • Barcode Sanners - 1D, 2D, None?  Ask about the tech in the device too as most OEM in good or bad kit!  Again play with the device and check how easy it is to use and how well it scans.
  • RFID – This is the next big thing, HF and UHF are what you really need for a good generically compatible device.
  • Bluetooth – Not a great differentiator these days, but the later the version the better and always test it out by adding BT devices to the device and seeing how well they connect and stay connected.  BT can be severely messed up by poor firmware.
  • SDKs, API’s and Demo Apps – All important to get you running and to make building your solutions on the PDA easy.  Ask to play with them and they should be free BTW!

Add to this why not ask what the components are on the device.  Your reseller should know and you might be surprised to find out that cheaper PDA’s sometimes have better chips in them, than more expensive ones, most have exactly the same!

Tomorrow we’ll count down to Number 6.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Pidion Power and Phone Behaviour Help

23 03 2012
The Pidion Rugged PDA Family

The Pidion Rugged PDA Family

I wanted to do a quick FAQ today about the way Pidion rugged PDA’s behave on low power, in particular stopping the phone from switching off at low power.  This is something we get asked a lot about but which never quite seems to make the blog!

The issue

The issue is in fact not an issue at all, it’s a feature!  At 20% battery power all Pidions from BM170′s up to BIP-7000′s will switch their phone and modems off in an effort to conserve power.  Now before you put your judgement hats on about this, all PDA’s do the same.  Check your Motorola and Intermec and you’ll find the same functionality right there but it’s just implemented a wee bit better. Essentially this is a relic from the past where perhaps up to the minute syncing wasn’t required like today and also where the PDA’s were not used as aggressively as phones or Internet connected tools either.  Anyway it’s easily remedied!

The solution

You need to tweak a registry setting.  Now we don’t recommend our users doing this so we have a little cab file you can download and run to ‘switch this behaviour on…..and switch it off again!  If enabled then the phone chip never switches off.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.





Intermec barcode Scanner Range

22 03 2012
The Intermec Barcode Scanner Range (SR61, SR30 on left) SG10T and SG20 on right.

The Intermec Barcode Scanner Range (SR61, SR30 on left) SG10T and SG20 on right.

It’s not often we talk about Intermec these days but they have been making some waves in the Barcode Scanner market the past few months.  I thought I’d try to summarise the Intermec scanner range in full today.

 Rugged Barcode Scanners

The SR61 tops the range as it always has but there are few more models knocking about these days.  The T is the basic tethered barcode scanner with imager, laser or 2D technology available.  The TXR brings a long range 2D option, the B is a T but wireless and lastly the Bex is a cordless near/far scanner.

The SR30 is still available as the lighter industrial offering.  It’s still rugged but it is just more budget in nature when compared to the SR61.

General Duty Scanners

It’s in the general duty or budget scanner range that the main changes have been made.  The SG10T is a new CCD Imager that’s right down in the £70 realm.  As you probably know from previous blogs about CCD imagers, they are cheap but also inherently more rugged than laser scanners and the tech is as good these days.

The SG20 is what we call an “affordable” performance barcode scanner, although from £200 for a tethered version up to £400 for a 2D Bluetooth version, we think there’s still better out there for less, including Cipherlabs 1560.

The SG20 is available in a healthcare version to, although bizarrely every hospital we talk to these days doesn’t seem to want anything with an antimicrobial case on it!!

Wireless Base station

One thing we do like about Intermec Barcode Scanners is that there is a wireless base station option.  This clever piece of kit is used to expand your WiFi network and gives a really good managed connection for your intermec WiFi scanners.  It only works with the WiFi ones and you can connect 7 scanners to them but they do help create a solid connection where it’s need.

The SF51 is still worth a mention because it is a nice little batch scanner that will work with any Intermec device.  However with most batch scanners these days now having VCOM and HID interfaces they all tend to connect to anything anyway!

That’s it, if you need any help at all then just come to us here.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.








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