We think Intermec is on the pulse with the new Intermec CS40 Rugged PDA. At first glance, the small rugged PDA looks like the same kind of new semi rugged PDA being offered by many companies but the CS40 is different because it’s best described as a quality rugged PDA, just shrunk down.
In fact Intermec wanted to distance the CS40 from these types of devices, particularly Motorola’s ES400 stating that they do not see these devices as direct competition to the CS40. Well that may be, but in terms of sales they will no doubt be up against each other at some stage so we discuss the pro’s and cons of the new device here.
First of all it is rugged. It’s IP54 with a drop spec of 1.2M which is unique in this class of small rugged PDA’s. The spec is also above decent in my view and has a few tricks up its sleeve too! Lets get the 3.2MP camera, 256MB RAM and who cares how much ROM (512MB by the way!!) out of the way along with the b/g WiFi, BT, 3.75G and Windows Mobile 6.5 OS. This is all expected now so lets focus on what Intermec’s CS40 brings that’s different.
Firstly the screen is the trusted 2.8″, QVGA. OK whilst this is small, too small for many customers expecting the obligatory “iPhone” or “HTC” experience from their Rugged PDA’s it does mean that the device is small. In fact it’s very small and it has more in common with an iPhone than a proper Rugged PDA in terms of its size. As with the Opticon H19, the GaneData GX8010 and soon to be released GSMart, I think this will be Marmite, being either loved or hated. If you want a rugged Smartphone locked to an app, then maybe this isn’t for you, otherwise if you want to use the device in all its WIndows Mobile glory then it could be the one.
The most interesting feature however is the new multi-processor architecture. Whilst on its own the ARM 11 running at 528MHz should really give the device a good heart, the other core used for radio processing is an ARM 9 running at the same 528MHz. We’re keen to see how this affects performance and we’ll be testing it as soon as we get a production version. Either way its refreshing, different and it should work well.
There’s a built in 2D scanner which uses the EA11 2D imager engine, I completely forgot to ask Intermec if you can spec this out completely but I have been told 3rd hand that you can’t.
The battery is a 1740mAh affair with an extended one being offered. This is adequate for a device with such a small screen and I don’t think you can spec this at buy time like other Intermec devices so it might be an add on, ask me if you want confirmation of this.
The GPS chip was unconfirmed but judging by the spec sheet its a bog standard Sirf II, I’ll also check on this as the time comes as we’re seeing GPS warm up times and accuracy really becoming an important factor in Rugged Device selection these days.
Its available from November 2010, exact date TBC however whilst pricing is still a bit sketchy I think it’s being aimed at under the MC55 area with project discounts to come.
Either way we like the innovative features the CS40 brings and along with its back to intermec basics, quality approach it should be a device worth considering.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.