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SCAN/DCR: MobileDemand Taps Into User Needs

From Scan: The Data Capture Report: New xTablet T1200 broadens market opportunities for ruggedized tablet computer manufacturer.

Download entire issue which features MobileDemand.

jon rasmussen mobiledemand rugged tablet pc In a recent conversation with MobileDemand's Senior Director of Product Management Jon Rasmussen, he stated that the company is "growing and profitable." That may not seem like an outrageously wild comment, but for a relatively new company, trying to succeed in what can still be called a stagnant economy, it's a pretty good endorsement of their business plan. And, with the introduction of the new MobileDemand xTablet T1200, the company has significantly broadened it market opportunities.

"We couldn't be happier with the reception we are getting for our products," Rasmussen told SCAN/DCR. "It's enabled us to expand our operations. We are remodeling our facility and will be finished with the updates by April. We also have three people working in an Asian outsourcing office, now. Our focus has been and will continue to be on usability, productivity, and innovation."

At a time when many tablets and smart phones are running on Droid or iOS operating systems, the new xTablet T1200 is the first fully rugged tablet PC to offer the option to run Windows 8, according to Rasmussen. The ability to run industry-standard, Microsoft programs, such as Excel, Word, Access, etc. comes as good news to a company with deeply embedded Microsoft systems. Users can start with Windows 7 and upgrade to Windows 8 at a later date, if they choose. The Windows option enables end-to-end security plus it fits the market's applications, training and support allowing for rapid adoption and lower support costs.

The new tablet PC offers a multi-touch resistive 10.4" LCD and is powered by the latest Intel® Core™ i5- 3427U processor (Ivy Bridge; 2 times the performance of the first generation and 5 times the latest ATOM processors) and either the Windows 8 Professional or Windows 7 Professional operating system. The xTablet supports a 64 GB to 256 GB and beyond mSATA solid state drive with an option to add a second high capacity hard disk drive.

It also offers an integrated bar code scanner and RFID reader, built-in numeric keypad, high resolution front facing and 5 MP rear facing cameras, integrated GPS, PCMCIA, SDHC and smart card readers, 2 USB 3.0 ports and an integrated RS-232 serial port, Giga-bit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n, plus 3G,4G LTE and Bluetooth 4.0 communications.

rugged tablet pc t1200 fire departmentThe xTablet T1200 is military rugged (5ft. drops to concrete and IP65 sealed) and was developed to bolster productivity for mobile users who work in demanding environments such as utilities, mining, oil and gas exploration, construction, inspections, maintenance and repair, warehousing, transportation, distribution, military, police, fire, public safety, rail, and intermodal.

"Today, many police departments are turning to smaller vehicles," said Rasmussen. "With a smaller interior, tablets are a much more efficient use of space than larger laptop counterparts and can be used at the scene of the crime/accident. And, our tablets offer all the 'horsepower' they need to perform their duties running multiple applications.

"We are also looking at all applications within a warehouse," he continued. "This especially includes forklift solutions for picking, real-time warehouse management, inventory, etc. Every feature has been designed with performance in mind, so with speed and accuracy being critical to warehouse profitability the xTablet T1200 delivers."

Other features include hot-swappable batteries with a 12-hour operation time and front and rear cameras with two microphones-that enable users to make videos. The microphones are equipped with noise cancellation technology to help filter out unwanted sound. In addition, there is also a special key that enables users to operate in stealth mode. When pressed, the key will turn off the screen and indicators so police and military personnel are not "lit up" in risky situations-Integrating the EA30 from Intermec the tablet delivers the best bar code reading in the market. The xTablet T1200 offers desktop features and performance in a large tablet form factor. It is also compatible with Microsoft Cloud applications.

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MobileDemand President Matt Miller stated, "Since the beginning, MobileDemand has been an innovator of technologies for the mobile business worker, consistently delivering rugged and reliable productivity tools that have helped our customers sell more and realize long-term savings. As a result, our customers have been leading tablet adoption in virtually every industry, fueling the growth of their own companies as well as MobileDemand. We continue that tradition today by being first to market with a fully rugged tablet PC with Windows 8."

"From our long association with MobileDemand, we know its products keep businesses, government agencies and military operations running even in the toughest environments," added Microsoft US OEM Vice President Peter Han. "Now the new Microsoft powered fully rugged xTablet T1200 running Windows 8 is certain to help MobileDemand customers capitalize on every minute of their day, guiding and expanding their choices, their actions and their impact. Microsoft is gratified to see partners like MobileDemand adapting portable technology to enhance productivity in any setting."

"According to VDC's research, demand for rugged mobile tablets-such as MobileDemand's xTablet T1200- is growing at a strong clip," said David Krebs, VP of mobile & wireless for Venture Development Corp. "These rugged tablet PCs support various business and mission critical workflows and applications across a variety of markets where uptime is of absolute importance to the users.

"In addition to being rugged and sealed, the xTablet T1200 offers desktop performance and Windows 7, plus other unique capabilities-such as their large all light visible display, high performance data capture options, and a wide range of communication options to deliver the productivity that truly mobile workers require. With the xTablet T1200 MobileDemand is building on its history of supporting these critical users with a device that addresses their application-specific functionality requirements, especially when a significant amount of information is required to get the job done. With Windows 8 support, MobileDemand also offers a clear upgrade path for its customers and prospects."

Taking it to the streets

maureen szlemp mobiledemand rugged tablet pcOver our 36 years of covering the AIDC industry, there have been countless times when we have seen revolutionary new products that were, quite simply, never marketed properly. It's one thing to engineer a great new offering; it's another to successfully take the products to its intended users. Maureen Szlemp, MobileDemand director, marketing programs, told SCAN/DCR, "From a sales perspective, we are targeting specific accounts rather than taking a mass approach. For instance, in field service, we will go after specific segments that we know are in need of our products. We are developing many useful accessories that will also help meet application-specific needs. By concentrating on small niche markets, we can use our time and money more wisely. As we continue to generate success stories, we believe our sales will continue to expand beyond our current targets."

"We are picking partners with software solutions in niche markets," added Rasmussen. "Less than 10% of our sales are direct. They are almost entirely through our channel partners. While we don't attend many shows, we still make a concerted effort to generate leads for our partners. This philosophy has worked very well for us, so far, and we have no intentions of changing something that isn't broken."

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