Small, tough and handy data collection terminal
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Unitech America is a subsidiary of Taiwanese automatic data collection specialist Unitech, founded in 1979. They are also the third-largest worldwide manufacturer of rugged PDAs.
The Unitech HT682 is the successor to the original HT680 that was introduced in early 2010. It is part of Unitech's "flashlight-style" rugged mobile computers, i.e. a design with a full numeric keypad in a housing longer than that of a conventional Pocket PC/PDA. Those familiar with Unitech's lineup know that the other two models in the HTxxx family are legacy terminals that are still based on proprietary DOS systems, so compared to them, the new Windows CE-based HT682 is lightyears ahead in terms of technology.
Despite its ruggedness, the HT682 is actually much smaller than it looks. Measuring just 6.7 x 2.1 inches and being just over an inch thick, the device feels more like a large smartphone and actually fits into many pockets. It also isn't very heavy at about 11 ounces. So this is one rugged industrial terminal that never gets in the way.
Do not, however, expect bleeding edge technology even in this updated model. The HT682 is based on Texas Instruments' OMAP AM3703 processor, a competent workhorse chip running at 800MHz. The screen remains a small 2.7 inch QVGA affair. And, indicative of Microsoft's current lack of a clear direction with its mini operating systems and Unitech's need to offer a compatible product to earlier HT680 customers, the HT682 still runs the tried-and-true Windows Embedded Compact Professional 6.0 R3.
Since most HT682s will be used as data capture terminals with data communication requirements, Unitech offers several different versions. All come with integrated Bluetooth 2.1 Class 2, but customers can select from either a 1D laser scannner (UPC-A/E, EAN-8/13, Codabar, Code 11, Code 32, Code 39, Code 39 full ASCI, Code 93, Code 128, Interleaved & Std. 2 of 5, EAN 128, Delta, MSI/Plessey, Toshiba) or a 2D imager that supports the 1D symbology plus GS1 DataBar/RSS, British Post, Canadian Post, Australian Post, Japanese Post, Planet Code, Aztec, Codablock F, Code 49, Datamatrix, EAN-UCC, Composite, Maxicode, MicroPDF417, QR Code, and Tcif Linked C3. Each model is available with or without 802.11b/g WiFi. GSM/GPRS/EDGE WWAN is available in custom configurations.
The Unitech HT682 carries an IP54 ingress protection rating (i.e., it is mostly protected against dust and water, but not totally dust and waterproof), can handle impressive 6-foot drops, and operate in a 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range, making it suitable for operation in just about any environment.
The HT682 is a small, tough and handy legacy mobile data collection computer that can be used for a very wide variety of data collection tasks without taking up a lot of room.