The Pidion BM170 offers customers the only PDA form factor with large LCD device in the semi-rugged class of device and we like it here because whilst there are other devices in the Semi-Rugged PDA line class, the BM170 is the only device that has its roots firmly in the “Rugged” camp. The others are tending to market and run themselves as durable smartphones and we all know where using a smartphone for your line of business application gets you. The predecessor to the Pidion BM170 was the BM150R which we announced the end of life for some time ago now. However the BM150R did leave us a little bit quickly for our liking and as such left a small hole in the market for a sub £400 basic semi rugged PDA. WM6.5 also gives a lot of software vendors issues and depending on the sub version we’ve particularly seen problems around the signature capture elements of solutions where the gesture mapping in the WM6.5 device is playing havoc with this. We’ll have another post on this soon. Pidion have recognised this and answered the call by launching 2 new budget versions of the BM170 designed to not only offer a reduced price point but also to be more compatible with WM6.1 versions of devices they might need to run along side. The line up consists of 2 new devices: The BM170-G is aimed at the field keeping GSM, HSDPA, AGPS and the 3MP camera. The BM170-L6 is aimed at “within-4-walls” with no WAN capability, no camera or AGPS. More importantly both devices run WM6.1 instead of the WM6.5 versions of current models and they also sport QVGA LCD’s and reduced 128MB of RAM. Both devices have significantly reduced price point and the BM170-L6 in particular come sin very inexpensively. It’s not yet clear if these devices will run the Android OS available to the BM170, we feel it would run it fine and we can’t really see anything that would stop you from upgrading to the WM6.5 in the future if they make that upgrade available to buy. You need to be careful with the 128MB RAM but everything else is there. Sometimes taking a small step back can be a useful exercise and we know there is demand for these devices so it’s a good move by a rugged PDA company who is clearly looking to develop devices at this end of the market that still fulfill the “Rugged” brief. The Rugged and Mobile blog.