Intermec, which makes a range of rugged handheld devices for use in such areas as warehouses, health care settings and construction, is rolling out the CS40, a rugged mobile computer that has the size and looks for a smartphone.
The CS40, announced Sept. 20, offers a host of features that put it into the "rugged" category, including the ability to withstand multiple four-foot drops onto concrete and protection from dust and liquid, and fills a gap that traditional consumer smartphones can't, according to John O'Rourke, vice president of global marketing at Intermec.
For the device's target market, regular smartphones aren't tough enough.
"[Businesses are] looking to find devices that are going to be smaller and go into new environments," O'Rourke said in an interview with eWEEK. "We've seen people try to bring smartphones into mission-critical environments, and [the devices] just fail. They're not designed for that."
With the new CS40, businesses get the convenient size of a smartphone, but don't have to compromise on durability or reliability, he said.
In addition, the CS40 and other Intermec devices are designed to have a five-year lifespan, which is significantly longer than that of many smartphones, which users tend to turn over after a year or so, Jon Rasmussen, marketing director at Intermec, told eWEEK.
All that is important when a user needs to run mission-critical enterprise applications in difficult environments, Rasmussen said.
The CS40 is built on Microsoft's Windows Embedded Handheld technologies and runs Microsoft-s Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. It comes with a full QWERTY physical keyboard or an alpha-numeric keyboard, includes a 2.8-inch touchscreen display with a stylus, supports UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems) 3G, 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth, and a 3 megapixel camera.
The mobile computer also is compatible with such Intermec's line of mobile printers and SmartSystem accessories.
The CS40 also is supported by Intermec's INcontrol managed service portfolio, which was rolled out Sept. 14. The integrated wireless services-which include INview, INsync and INcommand-enable users to remotely track and manage devices, and secure networks.
The CS40 will compete with rugged handheld devices from the likes of Motorola, which on Sept. 15 unveiled its MC750A0-HC Rugged Healthcare EDA (enterprise digital assistant for the medical field.
Two days earlier, Motorola rolled out the ruggedized "Defy" Android-based smartphone, and in June the vendor launched the ES400, which also is built on the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform.