Rugged Android mobile computer available in various configurations, including pistol grip
(by Conrad Blickenstorfer)
You know the times they are a-changin' when even dedicated industrial gear such as rugged AutoID scanners now come with Android. Because that's what the AT911 by Korean Atid is based on. Atid simply stands for "All That Identification" and the company specializes on industrial PDA and RFID readers. In the US the device is available from SDG Systems, which announced it on October 30, 2013. SDG Systems, located in Harmony, Pennsylvania, specializes on innovative Android and Linux solutions and customizations, and RuggedPCReview readers will know them from our detailed review of the RAMPAGE 6, an Android version of Juniper Systems' Mesa. Which means the Atid AT911 fits right into their lineup.
So what is the AT911, and why is it interesting? The basic unit itself, without the pistol grip and RFID attachments, is essentially a rugged mobile computer similar to, among others, a Trimble Juno T41 or a Winmate E430M2. The device measures 5.75 x 2.95 inches, is about an inch and a quarter thick, and weighs a bit under a pound. That's a footprint not much larger than that of one of today's big-screen phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, but as a rugged device the AT911, of course, is much thicker and heavier.
From a technical standpoint, the single-core 1.0GHz Samsung S5PC110 ARM processor wouldn't excite modern smartphone users, but it's probably plenty quick enough for its purpose. The 4-inch display is large enough, too, and its 480 x 800 pixel resolution makes for a crisp, sharp viewing experience. From the looks of it you'd expect capacitive touch, but Atid chose resistive touch (the specs don't say if it's multi touch or not; we think it probably is). Unlike a lot of current touch devices, this one implements the standard four Android buttons in hardware.
What's especially interesting is that the AT911 can be configured with a pistol grip. I recently had a conversation with a professional whose company wanted to upgrade their industrial-grade scanners with something more modern running Android. The problem he ran into was that there were no Android devices with pistol grips, and their users insisted on having the grips because it makes scanning easier.
The Atid AT911 addresses the pistol grip issue for those who prefer to have such a grip, but the device actually comes in several preconfigured models that add barcode scanning, cellular, GPS, camera or RFID. For high volume orders, users can customize their AT911s with a 1D laser scanner or a 1D/2D CMOS imager, either UHF 900MHz RFID or HF 13.56 MHz RFID, HSPA+ cellular, 5MP camera, GPS and the pistol grip with a separate integrated high-capacity battery.
The AT911 is suitably rugged, too. It can survive 5-foot drops to concrete, operate in a very wide temperature range of -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is now sealed to IP65 specifications, which means it's totally dustproof and can survive low-pressure water jets from all directions.
SDG Systems is offering its Android programming services for the AT911. Which means that customers seeking to transition from Windows Mobile or Embedded can work with SDG on the porting and se their consulting services. And an SDK is available for RFID and barcode scanning projects.
Below is SDG Systems' Atid AT911 demo video: