Motorola Unveils MC55A0, 'Most Rugged' WiFi Enterprise Device

Motorola introduced the MC55A0, a rugged mobile computer for vertical markets such as health care and government. It supports data and voice over WiFi, plus PTT.

Motorola Solutions is introducing the MC55A0, a WiFi-enabled enterprise handheld that the company is calling the industry's most rugged. Designed for customer-facing applications, outfitted with government-grade security features and able to withstand 1,000 tumbles in a rotating tumble drum, the device strives to marry field toughness with office efficiency.

Motorola developed the device for vertical markets such as health care, manufacturing, hospitality, retail and government, and its feature list speaks to this. The 3.5-inch color VGA display reportedly can be viewed in any lighting conditions and paired with a number of keypads, including QWERTY or numeric options. It can be cleaned with any household cleaner (a perk for health care workers), supports voice and data over a WLAN, offers four scanner options-for 1D and 2D bar codes, medium and high density bar codes and very high density bar codes-and can come with a 3.2-megapixel color camera with video capabilities.

Also supported are Web browsing, e-mail and the option of push-to-talk voice calls with Motorola mobile computers, TEAM voice over virtual LAN (VOVLAN) smartphones and Motorola two-way radios. The MC55AO, announced Dec. 7, runs Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 Classic and an 806MHz Marvell PXA320 processor. There's 256MB of RAM, 1GB of Flash memory and a microSD card slot for 32GB of additional memory. Bluetooth 2.1 is also on board, along with Motorola's MAX MPA 2.0 device architecture and a MAX Sensor that automatically rotates the screen to portrait or landscape mode, depending on how the device is being held. And when the device isn't in use, the Sensor puts it to sleep, to conserve the battery.

The MC55A0 supports virtual private networks (VPNs) and, for government deployments, can add FIPS 140-2 Level 1 certification. And-because who doesn't like an option?-it will be available in white or blue.

"Delivering new levels of business efficiency and enhanced customer service, the WiFi-enabled MC55A0 series also eliminates the common challenges associated with in-building cellular coverage for real-time access to business-critical information, while leveraging the field-proven rugged form factor and accessories of the MC55," Girish Rishi, Motorola Solutions' corporate vice president and general manager of mobile computing, said in a Dec. 7 statement.

In addition to the above-mentioned tumbling, the handheld can survive splashes, dust, temperature extremes and drops from 6 feet. It weighs 11 ounces with its rechargeable battery and measures 5.78 by 3.03 by 1.06 inches.

On Jan. 4, 2011, Motorola Solutions will become its own publicly traded company, splitting from what will be called Motorola Mobility-the side of the business containing such consumer-oriented products as the popular Motorola Droid and Droid 2 smartphones.

The split, which has been in the works for nearly a year, will enable each part of the company to keep "a laser focus" on its respective customers, Motorola Solutions' Gene Delaney told eWEEK, insisting that the decision was made "for all the right reasons."

The Associated Press has reported that Motorola also faced pressure from investor Carl Icahn, who as of August owned more than 10 percent of the company.

In addition to a number of radio-communications devices, Motorola Solutions will offer all of the systems to support those products.