Motorola Rugged PDA’s, in particular the Motorola MC55 are stalwart devices in the rugged market.  They’re the BMW 3 series if you like and with the MC55 now nearing the end of its life, the Motorola MC65 is now stepping out of the wings to take on the tough task of being the leading lightweight Rugged PDA.  I thought i’d cover of some of the most popular questions here, whether you’re migrating, mid-project implementation or looking to buy now.

Whats the difference between the Motorola MC55 and MC65?

Now the differences at first glance don’t seem too abundant but there are definitely some well received changes under the skin.  They’re all right here

  • Firstly it is a very sympathetic upgrade, you’re not going to really get into any issues with a dual implementation, other than if you’re using WM6.1 on the MC55’s (See blog about WM6.5.1 Vs WM6.5.3 here).
  • WM6.5.3 is the standard OS.
  • The CPU is upgraded to the new Qualcomm MSM7627 running at 600MHz in dual core guide.
  • RAM is doubled to 256MB, ROM to 1GB
  • Wlan a/b/g is now standard on the MC65, even the phone enabled version.
  • The biggest upgrade in my view is the HSUPA (3.75G) data chip.
  • BT is 2.1 EDR, the GPS is upgraded and the host is USB 2.0
  • The LCD is also VGA although the same 3.5″ size. It’s supposed to be super bright which is certainly something people do report as a benefit on the ES400.
  • It also has new sensor technology including accelerometer, compass, ambient lighting sensors, and dual phone microphones which will hopefully mean using the phone will be bearable and believe it ir not this is the first time we see a vibrate function on this device!
  • The scanner now uses the SE4500 Blockbuster 2D Imager as standard.  Gone is the 1D Laser scanner option.  I think the 1D scanner will be missed but the SE4500 is a far better scanner than the old Pico.
  • The camera is still optional but upgraded to 3.2MP camera.
  • The Motorola UI is standard giving you a Moto user experience for the device (Turn it off if you want the pure WM6.5 one).
  • The PDA keyboard is gone, did anyone actually ever buy one those anyway!!?
  • Its more rugged with better drop specs and a better, if not slightly unique,  IP64 rating.
  • It has software configurable

Whats the same?

  • Well the case for a start, it’s almost identical to the MC55 and has the exact same dimensions and design.
  • The Battery is still the trusty 3600mAh extended affair.
  • It can use existing MC55 accessories.
  • The Numeric and Qwerty keyboards are identical to those on the MC55.
  • The service and support models are all the same.

Will the Qualcomm processor cause an issue with MC55’s using the XScale PXA270?

The MC65 has the Qulacomm MSM7627 CPU, which works really well on android devices like the Defy, however its the same CPU in the ES400 and i’m not that impressed with it in this device.  There are also well documented issues with XScale applications not porting from Qualcomm so I really think this is introducing a potential risk into your environment.  The XScale PXA320 would have been the natural choice for me.

When is the MC65 released?

It’s available to order now but it’s not officially here until about July, although unofficially it has been brought forward.  If you’re a new buyer then there’s a little way yet to go but it’s becoming hard to decide whether to wait now.

Are there any price changes?

No, other than a recent general RRP rise, config for config, the MC65 maintains the same pricing as the MC55.  Looking at the RRP’s it seems that there will be a real price hike for those who wanted the most popular 1D+Camera configuration in my view.

Will the Motorola MC55 be available much longer?

Officially the distribution stops June 2011 but my guess is that there will be the odd reseller who buys a bunch up and probably charges the earth for them!  However talking to various Moto Account Managers it seems that officially if you want to complete your platform with MC55’s I would definitely get your final orders in mid-April.

Why would I want to stick with the Motorola MC55?

Well if you have an MC55 platform already and it’s doing fine for you then why risk having a dual device platform.  They’re very similar but if you’re mid-rollout of post MC55 rollout looking for more, I would always recommend sticking with what you have already.  As you know in the Mission critical world it’s often not best to have the latest and greatest and anything different should make even the biggest risk taking Platform Manager paranoid!

Is the MC55 still supported?

Absolutely and for 5 more years, guaranteed if you have a service contract.

What configurations will the MC65 have?

Well for starters the configs will be drastically reduced and this is how Motorola have probably kept the pricing low.  Bank on 4 configs with the qwerty/numeric keyboard and camera being the only options.  Pricing is the same for all models.

 What about the MC5590, what replaces this?

Well lest be clear, the Motorola MC65 replaces only the MC5574, or the phone and data “field version” of the old MC55.  The MC5590 will be replaced the same device but it will be known as the MC55A0 and yes there will be an HC version for Lab and hospital environments.

Anything else to report?

New accessories are rumoured like trigger handles and new cases among others and it certainly looks like Motorola are looking to the MC65 to broaden its market appeal.  Adding the better ruggedness and this could perceivably become a pretty flexible warehouse option now.

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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