At last the Motorola es400 has been revealed and I’m hoping that I’m OK sharing a few key points and pics with you on the small rugged PDA from the pre-launch update I attended. In true rugged and mobile style I’m hoping to pick up on a few points that others will miss on the rugged PDA that is the successor of the recently discontinued MC35.
Some key points of the launch call are listed below. It was described as iPhone sized but a bit slimmer and a bit thicker! I would say that it is probably very close to MC35 size but larger. There will only be 1 configuration but with 3 different keyboard options. I’m assuming that these will be Qwerty, Azerty and something else because a numeric option is not available. There will be an extended battery option that will not be flush and require its own battery cover. There was mention that the stylus needs to be different depending on the battery being used. Not sure if I heard that right though. The device is dual UDMA/HSDPA and the product is going to be an international one with all power adaptors and USB included in the box. LCd is 3.0″, an odd size for a PDA . It’s 750 nits display, which is bright. A blackberry is about 550 nits, however power consumption remains the same through the use of its auto power mode. Its got a resistive screen which is far better suited for more rugged/enterprise applications (EG using stylus’ for POD and using in gloves). There’s a customisable user interface which you can see in the images above. It’s like a cross between an iPhone and HTC home screen and it looked pretty usable. There are also a lot of re-written areas of the UI like an enhanced phone dialer, camera software as well as lots more. THe UI looked pretty nice. The camera is a 3.2MP AF with flash and whilst it was sold as a non-aggressive scanner, it will read all 1D and 2D barcodes and has illumination and a red-line to simulate 1D barcode scanning. The scan engine has been vastly improved from the MC35 and my feeling is that Motorola did not want to over boast at how good it might be. A vehicle charging solution and desk charger solution were very briefly mentioned. It has a stylus! The device has a true 3 year life/roadmap. Service from the start is available with comprehensive cover (not intentional damage). IP42, take that as you want to. I think this is OK, it would have been nice to have seen maybe IPX4 but this is better than the MC35. Drop spec is 1.2M to vinyl on concrete, which is about the same as the MC35 and everything else in this class. The list price mentioned was $750, I would say that this will translate to a similar RRP as the fully blown MC35. We’ll have to see but this looks like very good news on the price front.
Mid June for a global launch, which has happened!! However the actual availability date will be September. I think we’ll be able to take orders about August onwards. We’ll keep you posted as we know more and will do a more formal first look soon.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.