In the August 8 edition of Mobile & Wireless UPDATE, I looked at Symbol Technologies' ruggedized Pocket PC devices. This time, I want to look at ruggedized Pocket PC devices from Intermec, Casio, and Panasonic.

Intermec has a long history of developing barcode-scanning devices and other peripherals. The company also offers several Pocket PC-enabled devices, including the Model 70 Pocket PC, the 700 Series Mobile (monochrome), and 700 Series Color Mobile. The Model 70 Pocket PC is similar to the Hewlett-Packard (HP, formerly Compaq) iPAQ in size, specifications, and functionality, but it features some hardening that makes the device semi-rugged. This model doesn't have integrated peripherals for wireless communications or barcode scanning. It does, however, feature a 10-hour battery life, which makes the Model 70 Pocket PC a good choice for power users.

Intermec's 700 Series Mobile and 700 Series Color Mobile Pocket PC devices are true ruggedized devices. They have many of the features that the Symbol devices have, and the color-screen devices are specifically designed to work in bright light. Current models feature the 400MHz XScale processor, which increases application performance. Additionally, you can configure the 700 series with 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or 1xRTT wireless WAN (WWAN), or Bluetooth functionality. You can integrate one, two, or all three of these connectivity options into one device. Therefore, the device can be extremely flexible for connecting to different types of available wireless networks. The 700 series devices also feature integrated one-dimensional (1D) or two-dimensional (2D) barcode-scanning capabilities. Another nice feature of the 700 series devices is the non-volatile Flash ROM area, which permits easy loading of applications and recovery from device failure. For more information about Intermec, go to the following URL.
http://www.intermec.com

Casio offers several semi-ruggedized mobile devices that are similar to the company's Cassiopeia series. These devices have the same specifications as the iPAQ but are ruggedized for industrial use. Casio offers color and monochrome models that have Compact Flash expansion capabilities. They lack other peripheral support, however, and a frustrating flaw is that Casio is still using the Pocket PC 2000 OS with non-Flash ROM, so you can't upgrade to the Pocket PC 2002 OS. For more information about Casio's ruggedized devices, go to the following URL.
http://www.casio.com/personalpcs/section.cfm?section=145

Panasonic offers a ruggedized Pocket PC device called the Toughbook 01 which is the handheld version of the company's Toughbook series. The Toughbook 01 has many of the features that the other ruggedized devices offer, including barcode scanning, integrated wireless capabilities, Secure Digital (SD) expansion slots, and extended battery life. I particularly like the built-in keypad, which permits easy data entry for appropriate applications. For more information about the Toughbook 01, go to the following URL.
http://www.panasonic.com/computer/notebook/html/01a_s01.htm

As you can see, you have many options if you're considering a ruggedized Pocket PC device. See you next time.