The evolution of technology hardware follows a fairly consistent pattern. Hardware gets smaller, less expensive, more powerful, and has more functionality. It's a combination of market forces, commoditization, and Moore's Law. This is nowhere more apparent than in the mobile handheld space. One used to write about the possibility of converged devices--the day will come when both voice and data communications will be handled on one unit. It seemed like that day would never come. Now, it's hard to remember a time when these devices didn't exist.
Change, however, has been slower to come in the rugged handheld space. The technology certainly exists. BlackBerry, Palm, and Motorola all offer converged devices packed with functionality, including voice and data communication, WiFi and WWAN (wireless WAN) connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, and GPS (global positioning system) communication. But, no one is suggesting that these mobile devices would survive a 4-foot drop (or repeated drops) onto concrete. It's also not a wise idea to use these wireless devices in driving rain or extremes of temperature. But, that is just the challenge facing manufacturers of rugged mobile handhelds. And vendors are looking to meet that challenge.
Source: Integrated Solutions, http://www.integratedsolutionsmag.com
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