Ruggedized pen computer connects units on the move

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Systems designers are grooming a ruggedized Java pen computer running on the Wind River VxWorks real-time operating system for potential military maintenance operations.

By John Rhea

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Systems designers are grooming a ruggedized Java pen computer running on the Wind River VxWorks real-time operating system for potential military maintenance operations.

The system, known as J-Slate, was developed originally for dispersed field workers in the utility industries to interact with corporate databases. Its developer, Tadpole-RDI of Austin, Texas, is beta testing the system with the co-developer, Bristol Water of Bristol, England, says Gordon Grosse, a sales support engineer for Tadpole RDI.

J-Slate uses PCMCIA parts and is housed in a magnesium alloy case at a total weight of less than six pounds, including batteries. This also includes a 10.4-inch active-matrix liquid crystal display and provisions for satellite communications and a global positioning system (GPS) capability, although the present system uses cellular telephones.

The system was demonstrated at the GovTechNet show in Washington in June, and Grosse says he expects to begin marketing it in the United States this fall at a price of around $4,000.

The commonality of applications between utility companies and field military units is derived from the ability of J-Slate to download detailed map and job-specific information from centralized servers to personnel on the move. The GPS option would be particularly valuable for military users, Grosse notes.

For more information, contact Tadpole-RDI by phone at 512-219-2200, by fax at 512-219-2222, by e-mail at sales@tadpole.com, by post at 12012 Technology Blvd., Austin, Texas 78727, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.tadpole.com/.

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