The battle continues in the Rugged market but as bell curve flattens for our market just like everyone elses, we’re seeing more and more fringe devices that stretch the choices customers can (or should that be “have to”) make. Rugged Tablet PC’s are one such class of rugged device that are stretching things upwards in size and we think this is going to be a critical area of our market as we see a whole new class of customer emerging who were previously just capturing data, now wanting to also pump data back down to the same mobile devices. This means larger screens, better battery power which brings us to the tablet!
A first look at the Motorola ET1
Well its unique with a 7″ LCD and in our view it’s just what’s being asked for right now. It’s rugged with IP54 & a 1.2M drop spec and the gorilla glass will help with scratches on the screen too. You immediately notice it’s lightness actually when compared to most other Rugged Tablets out there. The operating and storage temps are low though so it maybe exposes its roots a little bit here in the mobile market rather than rugged one.
It’s runs Android only using 2.3 (gingerbread) so no Honeycomb here which means for us it’s more positioned as a large screened Rugged PDA rather than a small tablet?
It’s also locked down a fair bit and IT managers will be pleased to see no Android marketplace is available meaning this device is firmly for use as a business tool, not the latest user play thing!
The last thing to mention is there are 2 cameras. The front facing one is a low spec affair, whereas the rearwards one is an 8MP camera which can also scan barcodes. Now, I may have been in this business longer than I should have but I aint seen any camera that can scan barcodes accurately and efficiently just yet. Having said that Motorola’s camera based scanning tech is probably the best you’ll see on Windows Mobile phones so I am sure for occasional scanning this will be adequate.
What we rate
- Right sized LCD, this is exactly what some customers are looking for.
- Large 4640 mAh user replaceable battery.
- Light for what you get.
- Lots of accessories
- Moto’s full SFTS service products available.
- Outer LCD case is customisable.
What we hate
- No WAN option, although we have been told that a version is coming with this on it, how long is anyones guess though.
- Capacitive screen will mean expensive repairs and it restricts the solutions it can be used for.
- Only Android v2.3.4 (No v3.0) and no Windows Mobile will mean it’s not for everyone.
- Price is a little bit high in our view.
Early reports put the ET1 at about £1100 whcih isn’t cheap but for larger orders we hearing around the £650-700.
What we think
The ET1 is basic and in one way seen as a small little test step into this market by Motorola. However it does have a lot right. Its light and yet fully rugged. It has a good screen and battery and I think could be a hit in the right hands, especially where a bespoke application and .
Does it have too many Achilles heels though? No WAN, Capacitive screen and no Windows Mobile will hamper it in my view and I have to be honest here and say there are better more exciting devices coming on to the market very soon which means this will not be unique for very long at all.
We’ll review the device as soon as we get on in here so watch this space.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.