Rugged PDA Screen lowdown

We blogged about the Rugged PDA largest screen last year but I thought with so many new Rugged PDA’s hitting the market now we’d do a new blog about all the different aspects and USPs manufacturers of Rugged Handhelds now put into their LCD Screens.


Turns out size doesn’t indeed matter with a definite drive towards seeing rugged PDA screens being the smaller sized ones right now.  We’re actually seeing a split where certain more mature PDA implementations are looking for larger screens but many are still looking for the smallest Rugged Handhelds they can find.

Gone are the days of the 3.5″ LCD and not much else.  2.8″ is making a big comeback (Remember those old HTC devices with 2.8″ screens!!?), 3.0″, 3.2″, 3.5, 3.7″ and even 4.3″ are seen in our market now.  If you add in tablet PC’s that are being driven down in size there are even some 5″ Windows Mobile/CE devices too.

Screen resolution

Typically in the rugged market this has been QVGA for some time and the 320 x 240 has stood us in good stead for years.  However LCD manufacturers tell us that the VGA screen is now the most in demand and cheapest in our market which quadruples the area of pixels to 640 x 480.  However as some manufacturers rush to market with niche hole plugging devices we’re seeing all kinds of ratios now too.

Screen aspect ratios

WQVGA, WVGA, Stacked QVGA are all here but without some tweaking to your interface or manufacturer tools your software won’t easily port on or off them.Screen Brightness

Screen brightness

Motorola put heat into the brightness craze by publishing NIT ratings but most manufacturers are now following suit and providing, not only extremely bright screens, but vibrant coloured ones too that make for a definite improvement.  We think that a nice bright screen is a real bonus for field Rugged PDA’s and for people using them a lot the nicer screens do make a difference.  beware though as these also cost more to fix.

Screen Cost

So Rugged PDA LCD screens are no longer seen as a necessary evil, using the cheapest budget screens, but they are now seen as an area that can be improved and tailored making for a small USP in a market that is starting to get a little bit cluttered.  Costs are rising however and to give you an idea, we buy in LCD’s for older devices for around the $12 each.  This was because they all used the same or very similar products but now we’re seeing this rise to an average of $40 each, with some like Motorola not being available at all with custom-built digitizers.  That will usually set you back £300+.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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