Geared for government and manufacturing, the F5 works in tough environments
Motion Computing Inc. today is set to unveil a commercial-grade, rugged tablet PC for workers who aren't always inside an office.
The new an Intel Centrino-based F5 tablet PC runs Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. The F5 has a magnesium frame to keep it safe and operational in the field, a View Anywhere outdoor display and a shock-mounted hard drive. Motion Computing noted that the system is designed to withstand exposure to dust and moisture, and includes vehicular docking capabilities.
The three-pound tablet product is designed for mobile workforces in several industries, such as field service, manufacturing, government and construction.
A tablet PC is a low-weight portable computer that also is light on power consumption. Size-wise, it generally comes in between a PDA and a laptop.
"For the kind of applications they're talking about - construction, manufacturing - making the tablet PC tougher is very important," said Dan Olds, an analyst with Gabriel Consulting Group Inc. "Tablets can be very useful because they're highly portable. But often the environments where they can be of the most use are extremely hostile to fragile electronics. Dirty and dusty factory floors, outdoor construction projects, places with temperature extremes, rain, high humidity - they're all hard on devices. Plus, these things get dropped, thrown into pick-ups, and generally banged around. They need to be fairly tough."
Olds added that customers who need a computer that can withstand a harsh environment must pay a premium for tablet PCs that can last longer and take more punishment than traditional models. The F5, which is available immediately, has a price range of $2,699 - $4,000.
Motion Computing today is also announcing a new standard three-year "field-ready" warranty with the F5. The warranty covers damage from short drops -- generally 30 inches or less -- along with exposure to rain and dust.
"We've combined the mobility and ease-of-use benefits of a tablet PC with the increased durability of a rugged PC, without the costs associated with a fully rugged system," said Scott Eckert, CEO of Motion Computing, in a statement.