Windows 10 is here. Resistance is futile. [VIDEO]

Should you upgrade to Windows 10?  You should if:

  1. You don’t have enough anxiety in your life. Nothing like learning a new operating system to  raise dangerously low levels of stress.
  2. You really, really hate Windows 8. Microsoft set out to fix the mistakes of its earlier OS (The Start menu is back! Yay!).  This is why Windows 10’s unofficial slogan is “Now, 67% less annoying than Windows 8!”
  3. You absolutely, positively must play Xbox games on your laptop. There is an export feature that allows you to do this, and evidently it’s pretty cool.
  4. You have too much privacy and want to received personalized ads. Sure you can opt out of Microsoft’s snooping, but as Alec Meer of the gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun notes: “….  despite chest-thumping, we’re-all-chums-here talk about how ‘real transparency starts with straightforward terms and policies that people can clearly understand.’ There is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes ‘real transparency.’”

The consensus seems to be that Windows 10 is here to stay, possibly for a long time.  So, if you are a PC user, you will be using Windows 10. Before you upgrade, you  may want to wait for awhile until some of the bugs shake out.

For a more comprehensive review with considerably less snark, watch the video below.

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Android Tablet Opportunities for VARS/Resellers

BlogArtAMREL is providing unprecedented opportunities for VARs and resellers to distribute Flexpedient® AT80 rugged, Android tablets.

“This is a big deal,” declared Javier Camarillo, AMREL’s Senior Application Engineer. “We have structured the reseller program to make it as easy and profitable as possible.”

Unlike many reseller agreements, there is no required minimum order, and no complex legal agreements.

“We keep it dead simple,” he explained. “The typical reseller should be pleased with the no-hassle arrangement as well as the healthy profit margin.”

The Flexpedient® Android AT80 tablet was designed to appeal to the typical end-user. Lightweight and boasting the popular Android operating system, it has demonstrated an appeal beyond the usual rugged markets.

“Typically, only the military and First Responders buy rugged computers, which are more durable than commercial systems,” explained Mr. Camarillo. “Recently both consumers and enterprises have expressed interested in rugged systems.  In the long run, ruggedness saves money due to reduced repair, lost work, and replacement costs.”

“We have received inquiries from scientists who want them for collecting field data in remote locations,” stated Mr.  Camarillo. “Folks want it for aviation applications. Oil & Gas companies like its impressive IP 67 rating, as well as its lightweight mobility.

“Since it is easily modified, product developers have been calling us. A major league baseball club has bought the biometric version to help manage events at their park. This is a great opportunity for an aggressive reseller.

“One reseller described us as the Humvee of rugged tablets, because we are transferring military products to the industrial and commercial markets. Just like the Humvee, we are offering Flexpedient® AT80 rugged tablets in a variety of colors. We also offer engraved custom logos for companies interested in promoting their brand.”

Standard features include Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), 8” 10-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen display, front/back 5 MP cameras, 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth®.

To learn about the Flexpedient ® AT80 and VARs/reseller program,

contact Javier Camaillo at: (800) 882-6735  or javierc@amrel.com

World’s First Personalized Rugged Android Tablet

at80

AMREL announces the launch of Flexpedient® AT80, world’s first personalized, rugged Android tablet.

With the Flexpedient ® AT80 rugged tablet, you can:

  • Choose colors to match your style
  • Co-brand by engraving a logo on the tablet to promote your organization
  • Integrate application modules, such as Common Access Card (CAC) reader, barcode readers, fingerprint scanner, etc.

Weighing only 1.65 pounds and less than 1 inch thick, this rugged tablet is designed to meet MIL-STD 810G and boasts an unusually durable IP67 rating. Built from the ground-up to be rugged, it is far tougher than a commercial tablet in a hardened case.

Inspired by aeronautic design, the tablet’s one-of-a-kind proprietary channel shields connectors, modules, and sensors. The protective channel provides a wide area of mechanical attachment points for easy customization or integration of application modules.

“The Flexpedient® AT80 rugged tablet enables true off-the-shelf customization,” explains Kalvin Chen, AMREL’s VP of Operations. “AT80’s unique channel design allowed a two-finger biometric sensor to be added in less than a week. This biometric tablet will be used by a major league baseball team to monitor admissions at games.

“AMREL has sold rugged computers to military and Public Safety markets for 30 years,” explains Mr. Chen. “Leveraging our decades of ruggedness expertise, we designed the AT80 to be durable, mobile, and lightweight for industrial and commercial sectors as well as outdoor enthusiasts.”

Since rugged computers need less repair and replacement, they make economic sense. The Flexpedient® AT80 is especially well-suited for enterprise or personal use, because of its thin, lightweight frame.

Mr. Chen reports that AMREL is already fielding queries for specialized connectors, sensor modules, and joysticks.

Standard features include Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), 8” 10-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen display, front/back 5 MP cameras, 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth®.

Available for order now.  Learn more at:  AT80.amrel.com

Revolutionary Hawkeye 105mm Control Unit [VIDEO]

Built by the Mandus Group, the Hawkeye 105mm Weapon System is a revolutionary system that decreases recoil by 70% without degradation of performance. Recoil is dissipated by a hybrid of the traditional oil & gas system and what is known as a “soft recoil” system.  Watch the video below to see the mobile howitzer in action.


Notice that before the Hawkeye discharges, the barrel is cocked slightly forward.  This is part of the “soft recoil” control.

Recoil is so reduced that the Hawkeye can be mounted on a truck with only four bolts. The lack of recoil (and light weight) means the Hawkeye can be used on a wide variety of military vehicles including those that are wheeled, tracked, towed as well as rail, watercraft, and aircraft.

This mobile, powerful weapon is controlled by AMREL’s ROCKY DK10 Rugged Tablet. The Mandus group chose this 12.1” tablet because they needed modifications for a low volume order, which is AMREL’s specialty.

In order to be the Hawkeye’s Operational Control Unit (OCU), the DK10 tablet was modified to have thumbwheel connectors and joysticks. The DK10 OCU:

  • Issues elevation and transverse commands
  • Manages sensors
  • Engages the safety system
  • Enters firing missions & controls direct fire
  • Interacts with laser range finder
  • Interfaces with internal navigation system and electrical control box

In addition to functioning as a handheld control unit, the DK10 can be used in cab for navigation.

To learn more about AMREL customized table solutions, click here.

See you at SOFIC

SOFIC 2015 v2

 

Get a sneak peek!  AMREL will show off its new rugged Android tablets & handheld devices at this year’s SOFIC!

AMREL will feature a preview of some its newest, most advanced rugged computing solutions including:

  • Android/Windows solutions, such our new Android handhelds.
  • Super-slender laptops, such as  the ROCKY RV11 the thinnest, rugged laptop on the market that has a 15.6” display.
  • Powerful handheld & tablets, including our new Flexpedient Android tablet.

 We customize, design, prototype, and deliver solutions faster than anyone

 Learn more at: computers.amrel.com

AMREL at MCB Camp Pendleton

AMREL will be displaying its latest and greatest at MCB Camp Pendleton on Tactical & Tech Day, Wednesday,  April 22, 2015. We will be showcasing our line of super-slim, ultra-rugged laptops, handhelds, and tablets.

Special sneak peak! Come and get a look at some of our special products before they’re released to the market, including:

  • AT80 Rugged Android Tablet
  • DS11, a tablet so thin you won’t believe it’s fully rugged
  • Many others

Also, on hand will be the RS11 and the RV11, the world’s thinnest, rugged laptops with 13.3″ and 15.6″ displays, respectively. And you won’t want to miss our Android APEX AH53 handheld, so tough it has an IP67 rating.

Learn more about our rugged mobile computing solutions at: computers.amrel.com

Rugged Android Tablet Previewed at PLRB 2015 Claims & Insurance Conference

AMREL will preview its new, rugged Android Tablet at PLRB 2015 Claims & Insurance Conference.

“AMREL is developing mobile computer solutions specifically for the insurance industry,” explained Linda Talcott, Director of Product Marketing. “We thought the conference would be a good place to showcase our new Android tablet, and get feedback about the industry’s requirements.”

AMREL poured 30 years of rugged experience into the new tablet. Its revolutionary design utilizes a unique, patented channeling system that adds an extra level of durability to the tablet.

“This is not the traditional clunky rugged device,” declared Ms. Talcott. “We applied lessons learned from aviation manufacturing. Like rugged computers, airplanes have to work in hostile environments and withstand shock, vibration, as well as extreme temperatures. However, airplanes are also sensitive to issues of weight. Using aviation manufacturing methods, we created a lightweight, mobile device that can withstand pounding.”

Ms. Talcott is quick to point out that rugged computers are not just for outdoor use, such disaster areas.

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“People who purchase cheap, standard, commercial computers for the office are actually costing their enterprises money,” she said. “A rugged computer is more reliable, so it saves money on repairs, replacement, lost data, and worker downtime. A well-known study proved that the Total Cost of Ownership for rugged computers is less than for commercial ones. Rugged reduces risk.”

Like most AMREL products, the new tablet is designed for fast and easy customization. AMREL is well known for quickly delivering customized devices at low NRE, even for low volume orders.

In addition to the new Android tablet, AMREL offers a wide choice of handhelds and laptops. In addition to Android, AMREL’s offerings run on full Windows and Windows CE operating systems.

Ms. Talcott will be in AMREL’s booth # 376.

To learn more about AMREL complete line of rugged mobile computing solutions, visit: http://computers.amrel.com

The Next Big Thing for Rugged Computers

Since AMREL customizes most of the products we sell, we pay pretty close attention to what our customers want. While we do not claim to be prophets, we have noticed certain trends when we discuss computing solutions with our clients. Here is what we think will be “The Next Big Things” for rugged computers.

Big displays/ Small form factors
We get a lot of inquires about the RF10, the only rugged laptop that has a 17” display. Same thing about our DK10 tablet that has a 12” display. Maybe it’s the popularity of mapping applications or maybe everyone is aging and getting poor eyesight. Whatever the reason, people want BIG screens.

At the same time, they want smaller form factors. People are using tablets for tasks that once required laptops, and are using handhelds for applications that once needed tablets. Please call us if you know how to put a 17” display on a smartphone.

ARM race
One key to the popularity of smaller from factors are ARM processors. While more limited in their ability to support full computer functions, they use less energy than traditional processors (such as Intel).

To get around the limitation of ARM processors, computing solutions have adopted “fat server/thin client” model. Computing functions are off-loaded to the cloud. You no longer need a powerful desktop computer to download your email. When your email is cloud based, a simple low powered smartphone can easily check it.

My smartphone, my trash
A consequence of the preference for ARM- based small form factors is that hardware is cheaper and more disposable. If your desktop computer is destroyed, you have not only lost an expensive piece of equipment, but also a lot of valuable data as well. If your smartphone gets trashed, it’s less expensive to replace, and your data lives on in the cloud.

Considering disposability is one of its main attractions, a smartphone that is also rugged may sound like a contradiction in terms. Even if it is relatively cheap to replace, a broken smartphone is still a time waster and a general pain in the rear end. So, we are getting many requests for durable handheld computers. In addition to the DB6, DF6 and our other established small platforms, we plan to soon launch a new line of super-tough handhelds.

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Android rules, but mobile Windows is not dead yet
Android OS is clearly on the rise. Interestingly, this has not slowed down inquires to AMREL for Windows CE-based platforms. Institutions with legacy applications haven’t jumped on the Android bandwagon yet. While continuing to support mobile Windows OS, we plan to dramatically expand our Android offerings in the near future.

Attack of the super-thin computers
As you probably noticed, thin is in. Leaf through any computer magazine, and you will see ads boasting of their slim platforms. While this is primarily a phenomenon of consumer electronics, even the rarefied world of rugged platforms has been affected by “computer anorexia.”

Never one to pass up a good trend, AMREL offers:
• RS11 – With a 13” display, it’s the thinnest rugged laptop in the world
• DB6 – The super lightweight handheld
• RV11 – It is the thinnest rugged laptop with a 15” display on the market

This year we plan to offer a rugged tablet so thin you can cut cheese with it. Well, maybe not that thin, but still…

COTS, COTS, and more COTS
Classify this trend as “more of the same.” One of the biggest consumers of rugged platforms is the US Department of Defense (DOD). They have been COTS obsessed for years, and there is no sign of this mania letting up. COTS products are supposedly cheaper, have better supply lines, and the DOD doesn’t have to worry about keeping their production capabilities alive in times of low demand.

Of course the DOD still hasn’t lost its taste for highly specific requirements. This has led to the phenomena of “Customized COTS,” i.e. off-the-shelf products that can be easily modified. For almost 30 years, AMREL has pioneered “Customized COTS” and continues to be a leader in this field.

Quick & inexpensive prototyping
Incorporating end-user feedback for rugged solutions has always been problematic. With the pace of technological change rapidly accelerating and the increasing uncertainty surrounding possible future wars, adaptability has become ever more critical. Rugged solutions must be designed to be easily and inexpensively modifiable. Since customization is one of AMREL’s core capabilities, we feel very confident in meeting this challenge.

What do you think?
The above list is not be meant to be exhaustive, but just an informal collection of our impressions. What is your vision of the future of rugged computers? Send your thoughts to editor@amrel.com.

Learn more about AMREL’s offerings at computers.amrel.com

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10 Things You Need to Know about Night Vision

Do you need a computer that is night vision compatible? Before you buy, you should know the answers to these 10 questions.

What is a night vision compatible computer?
Night vision compatible computers do NOT possess the capabilities of night vision goggles. They do NOT allow you to see in the dark. Instead they restrict their emission of light, in order to prevent interference with or detection by night vision goggles.

Who needs a night vision compatible computer?
Generally, there are two classes of people who need night vision compatible computers: aviation crews and military ground troops, especially Special Forces. Ground forces use computers with decreased light emissions to avoid detection by the enemy. Airplane crews need computers whose light emissions are restricted, so they don’t blind a nearby pilot who is using night vision goggles.

Are there differences between night vision compatible computers used by aviation crews and those used by Special Forces?
Yes. Filters used to suppress the transmission of light have different level of strength. AMREL’s off-the-shelf night vision solutions use filters that permit light transmission of 2.5%, which is a commonly requested level (alternative filter ranges are available by request). Special Forces requirements can go as low as 1%. Aviation standards (MIL-STD 3009) are not as strict and permit 20% transmission.

One reason there are differences between the two types of night vision compatible computers is that they are used differently. A pilot will use his night vision goggles to fly, but will switch to using his naked eye when viewing instrumentation within the cockpit. On the other hand, a soldier on the ground will use his night vision goggles to view nearby objects as well as ones in the distance.

Another difference is that aviators prefer their night vision to have an anti-glare surface. Ground troops on the other hand do not care.

Sometimes, the markets overlap; Special Forces in airplanes will use computers with night vision solutions to avoid blinding the pilot who is using goggles to fly.

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What is “black background”?
Some Naval applications demand that that night vision compatible equipment emit zero radiation when they are turned off. The requirement for this specification is called “black background.” This leads to stricter requirements than is found in aviation applications.

Can night vision compatible computers have a workable touch screen?
Yes. The filter can diminished the effectiveness of the touch screen slightly, but most people do not notice this.

Why is the suppression of infrared range emissions important?
Night visions goggles use infrared (IR) range. Therefore, night vision filters must suppress light transmitting in that range, so that an enemy using night visions goggles cannot see their computer. Sometimes, you will see phrases about night vision compatible computers, such as “…. reduces your infrared signature.”

Consider the following graph used by Cevians, LLC (formerly a division of Wamco Inc.), an industry leading supplier of filters, to illustrate the suppressive properties of one of their products. Infrared starts at about 700 nm, so this graph shows zero transmission in that range.


nightvision graph

 

What is “full color rendering” and do I need it?

Night vision filters can suppress the spectrum unevenly. Sometimes, the image on the display of a night vision compatible computer will look distorted, even monochromatic.

This is a problem for a variety of applications, especially mapping, which may use color to convey critical detail and information

Night vision filters can be constructed for “full color rendering.” Red looks red, yellow looks yellow and so on. For many applications, this is essential.

What the heck is U´ and V´?
Pronounced “U prime” and “V prime,” these coordinates describe color distortion caused by filters (even “full color” ones have some). An expert can look at u’ and v’ and know how whether or not the filters are appropriate for his application.

Why should I care if my filter is “polymeric”?
Filters made from polymeric materials are not flammable. Especially important for aviation applications.

Are night vision compatible computers “sunlight readable”?
Not with the filters on. Many night vision compatible computers have filters that are removable, so they can be used in the daytime. This leads to an important often unasked question, “Where the heck do I put my night vision filter when I am not using it?” This may seem to be a trivial detail, but when designing a night vision solution, it is an important consideration.

Click here to learn about AMREL’s night vision solutions.

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AMREL New Rugged Night Vision Computing Solutions  

AMREL now offers a full line of turn-key night vision solutions, fully compliant with MIL-STD 3009 and CECOM (CSLP) standards.

“AMREL’s rugged laptops, tablets, and handhelds are the perfect platforms for night vision solutions,” states Kalvin Chen, AMREL’s VP of Operations. “The durability and reliability of our computers makes them practical for both ground and aviation purposes.”

The widespread use of night vision goggles has necessitated the adoption of light restricting filters for mobile computers. Aviation crews must be careful that the light of their laptops and tablets do not blind pilots who use night vision goggles to fly in dark, dangerous areas. Military forces on the ground are keen that enemies cannot detect their presence by using night vision goggles to spot light emitting from their tactical computers.

“Special Forces have used AMREL’s rugged computers for years,” explains Mr. Chen. “We are especially pleased that we can offer them this feature, which enhances their safety by limiting their detectability. Of course, our night vision computing solutions also meet the less stringent aviation standards.”

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AMREL’s Night Vision Computing Solutions virtually eliminate all infrared emissions completely, which is important, since night vision goggles usually work in that part of the spectrum. Overall light transmissions are restricted to just 2.5%. Other levels of light suppression are available on request.

AMREL Night Vision Solutions use the industry-leading SafeNight™* filters. These polymeric filters are nonflammable and offer full color rendering, which is important for mapping applications.

AMREL Night Vision Computing Solutions are available for:

  • ROCKY RS11, the lightest, thinnest rugged laptop in the world (13.3” display)
  • ROCKY DK10 fully rugged tablet (12.1” display)
  • ROCKY DB6 handheld, the smallest, fully rugged handheld with full Windows OS (5” display)
  • Other computing platforms available upon request.

For more information, visit: http://computers.amrel.com/?p=7491

*“SafeNight” trademark is property of CEVIANS, LLC – Formerly a division of Wamco Inc.