Tadpole RDI releases rugged Java hand-held computer

CARLSBAD, Calif. — engineers at Tadpole RDI are offering a rugged, Java-based, hand-held computer aimed at making life easier for military personnel in the field.

By John McHale

CARLSBAD, Calif. — engineers at Tadpole RDI are offering a rugged, Java-based, hand-held computer aimed at making life easier for military personnel in the field.

Tadpole RDI's hand-held device, J-Slate, is a diskless, pen computer designed from the ground up for operators who do not want to deal with the complexity of an operating system, Tadpole officials say. Users can run enterprise applications via wireless networks with the device.

The J-Slate targets military telemedical applications; users in hospitals or records centers can upload electronic dogtags to the J-Slate to provide a soldier's health history to medical personnel in the field, explains David Miles, vice president for business development at Tadpole RDI in Carlsbad, Calif.

Aircraft pilots and maintenance personnel also can use J-Slate to maintain data storage aboard their aircraft, Miles adds.

The goal of the device is to simplify software tasks so field personnel can access their information more quickly and efficiently, Miles explains. It is also more cost-effective and reliable than current Windows-based pen computers, he claims.

The primary area that the J-Slate targets is military tactical filed operations, Miles says. Personnel can generate maps quickly with the device's instant-on capability and wireless connection, he explains. It is also lighter than other rugged hand-helds, Miles claims.

The computer has a large, bright color display and the ability to run applications when disconnected or connected to corporate networks. These qualities make it useful for applications with a graphical function, such as displaying documents, graphics, images, and maps, Tadpole RDI officials say.

The J-Slate has configuration options that include user accessible PCMCIA sockets, integrated wireless, cellular phone, radio, global positioning system, modem, and Ethernet connections. It also has a long battery life, Tadpole RDI officials claim.

The computer uses an Intel StrongARM processor running at 190 MHz and has 16 to 64 megabytes of DRAM and 8 to 20 megabytes of flash memory. Software includes the Wind River VxWorks real-time operating system, Sun Java Virtual Machine 1.1.6, and the Wind River Personal JWorks.

The J-Slate display is a 10.4-inch, thin-film-transistor color active-matrix liquid crystal display with a 640-by-480-pixel resolution and a passive pen interface via a resistive touch panel.

The Tadpole RDI device's battery options include a six-cell, 2400mAH Lithium Ion battery pack with an eight-hour typical run time and a nine-cell, 3900mAH Lithium Ion battery pack with a 12-hour typical run time. A charge status indicator is on all battery packs.

The hand-held computer has an operating temperature range of 0 to 50 degrees Celsius and a storage range of -20 to 60 C. The device survived a one meter drop onto concrete during shock testing and meets the MIL-STD 810e basic transportation specification for vibration. The device can come with a carry case, a keyboard/port replicator, or a vehicle-docking cradle with various mounting options.

Tadpole RDI's device is designed to run Java applications either standalone or via a web browser. The J-Slate runs World Wide Web and Intranet applications and can be configured with an optional Espial Escape Web browser from Espial in Ottawa, Ontario. Tadpole RDI and Espial officials formed an alliance to offer Espial developer tools and Internet applications for J-Slate.

"The strategic relationship with Espial and integration of Espial's products in our J-Slate technology allows us to expand our Java-based solutions and give embedded developers a jump ahead in their development cycle," Miles says. "The combined expertise of our technology, coupled with Espial's tools and Internet application suite, will enable us to better meet the needs of our customers and bring better products to market faster."

"The Espial Architect RAD development environment enables independent software vendors and systems integrators to easily extend the J-Slate platform through PersonalJava applications for any industrial, commercial and military application," explains Mal Raddalgoda, director of strategic marketing at Espial.

"With the wireless connectivity option and Espial DeviceTop application delivery platform, J-Slate delivers a true total-cost-of-ownership solution; users can add or upgrade PersonalJava applications remotely onto the J-Slate device anywhere in the field. Shock-resistance and water-resistance makes the J-Slate the ideal solution for the mobile field worker in harsh working environments."

For more information on J-Slate contact Tadpole RDI by phone at 760-929-0992, by fax at 760-931-1063, by mail at Tadpole-RDI, 2300 Faraday Avenue, Carlsbad, Calif. 92008, by email at sales@tadpolerdi.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.tadpolerdi.com/jslate/.

More in Home