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Friday, February 17, 2012

More Rugged Computers: Handhelds, UMPCs and Fixed Mounts

Rugged Handheld Computers

Imagine what Isaac Asimov would have thought about computers that fit into the palm of your hand. Technology has truly made some amazing advancements in computers. Rugged Handheld Computers possess display screens about a fourth of the size of a full screen monitor.

There is no letter keyboard built into these units, but most handhelds utilize a number keypad. These are not to be confused with Personal Data Assistants that are slightly smaller and offer no ruggedized protection. Even though Rugged Handhelds are small, they are as tough as their rugged laptop counterparts with sealing and daylight-viewable screens.

Rugged Handhelds operate with an on-board memory or Flash Drive instead of a hard disk drive and use a small scale operating system such as Windows Mobile or Pocket PC instead of XP Pro or Vista. As time passes, Microsoft and other companies will likely be offering more application software choices for Rugged Handhelds.

Rugged UMPC's

Ultra Mobile PC’s are super mini computers! Super, because unlike Tablet PC’s and PDA’s, they run a complete Windows operating system instead of a scaled down version and mini, because they are even smaller and lighter than Tablet PC’s with a 4-5 inch display.

UMPC’s are the latest technology in computers on the market. But just because the display screen is small, that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. The UMPC boasts a minimum screen resolution of 800 x 480. And this tiny unit is capable of running any software that is compatible with the Windows XP platform.

The UMPC has a virtual keyboard rather than a physical keyboard called DialKeys, but with the built in USB 2.0 port, you can always attach a keyboard or a mouse. This computer includes a software suite called Touch Pack Interface for ease of use with its small size.

You’re probably wondering if there is a rugged version of the UMPC. I'm so glad you asked. Rugged UMPC’s are built with all the same protective design as rugged laptops and rugged tablet PC’s. They are sealed against the elements, they can handle it if you drop it and daylight viewable displays come as a standard feature.

Rugged Fixed Mount PC’s

This term applies to the type of computer that you will find in aircraft, ships, barges, forklifts, trucks or tractors. They are permanently fixed and are not portable by any means. One reason is because they do not have internal batteries and so must stay plugged up to an electrical outlet or plugged in to a vehicle battery.

You may also find these types of units in an industrial or factory environment mounted to a piece of equipment or to the wall. You might compare the durability of Rugged Fixed Mount PC’s to an army tank, except that Rugged Fixed Mount PC’s are completely sealed and army tanks are not. If you were to purchase a Rugged Fixed Mount PC, you probably won’t need to call IT services for many years.


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