Ultra-rugged new generation Ranger
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Tripod Data Systems Company located in Oregon develops hardware and software for mobile computing applications. Their hardware is built for extreme industrial applications. The latest generation Ranger, which comes in a variety of processor and memory configurations, is an ultra-rugged "flashlight-style" handheld computer built to withstand severe punishment thanks to a carbon fiber case with a steel frame inside and plenty of rubber and polycarbonate outer shell for protection. The Ranger uses a state-of-the-art Intel XScale PXA270 processor, a TFT color display, and up to 512MB of Flash storage. A massive 6,600 mAh Li-Ion battery provides 30 hours of continuous use. The Ranger has a standard Com port and a multiport connector that provides a second Com port, USB, Ethernet, and audio. Optional equipment includes various size CF-caps. The device is sealed to an IP67 rating. In this case, the "7" in the IP rating means the device can survive full 3.3 feet immersion in water for half an hour. There are two versions available: the Ranger 300X uses a 32MHz processor, has 64MB or RAM and 256MB of Flash, and Bluetooth and WiFi are optional. The Ranger 500X uses a faster 520MHz versioin of the PXA270 chip, has 128MB of RAM and 512MB Flash. It comes with Bluetooth, and WiFi is optional.
Note: Tripod Data System is to be commended for clearly explaining the various hardware testing procedures on its website. [see hardware test
In February of 2006, TDS replaced Windows Mobile 2003 with Windows Mobile 5.0
in the Ranger. 5.0 supports additional features such as persistent storage
that eliminates the need for a RAM-based file system or Sprite Backup. Windows Mobile 5.0
also unlocks the USB host functionality of the Ranger's standard USB port.