The Thor VM1, initially introduced by LXE in March 2011, is a compact vehicle-mount computer with an 8-inch touch display as well as a QWERTY keyboard and function keys. Depending on the intended application, the Intel Atom-powered Thor can be operated with either Windows Embedded Standard 2009 or with Windows CE 6.0. The VM1 is a remarkably flexible, versatile solution for a variety of logistics applications in different markets.
The Thor VM1 has a footprint of 10.6 x 8.4 inches—about like a netbook— and is around two inches thick. It weighs about 5.5 pounds, a bit hefty if you were to carry it around, but in line for a ruggedized vehicle-mount tablet. The Thor's resistive touch display measures eight inches diagonally and offers WVGA 800 x 480 pixel resolution. The display has an automatic LED backlight and comes in two versions, one for indoor use, and an extra bright one for outdoor use.
The VM1 is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor. This processor was designed specifically for industrial and embedded applications (as compared to the Atom N270 and N450 that were used in millions of netbooks), and is still used in a large number of industrial and vertical market tablets and other mobile computers.
The ability to run certain applications often determines the purchase decision of vehicle-mount computers. Since some of that software was written for Windows CE and some for standard Windows, LXE designed the Thor to be able to run both Windows CE 6.0 or Windows Embedded Standard 2009. Depending on the choice of operating system, Thor devices may be equipped with 1GB of RAM and 1GB of Flash (for Windows CE), or with 2GB of DDR2 RAM and 4 or 8GB of Flash (for Windows Embedded).
As far as ruggedness goes, the Thor VM1 was designed to handle the typical conditions encountered in vehicle use. The device is sealed to IP66 specifications, which means it is totally protected against dust and it can also handle strong jets of water from all directions. The Thor is also vibration-proof and can operate in a very wide temperature range of -22 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. For use in very low temperatures, customers can even order a screen defroster. As the picture above shows, the Thor can be mounted virtually anywhere and in numerous ways. And should something go wrong, the front panel and other parts are field-replaceable.
The VM1's designers knew that some applications only need touch whereas others need, or benefit from, a full keyboard. Including a keyboard in a compact tablet computer usually means the display gets to be pretty small, but in the Thor LXE managed to offer both a reasonably large display and an amazingly full-featured QWERTY keyboard with a separate numeric keypad and ten programmable function keys.
The Thor VM1 generally uses vehicle power (10 to 60VDC), but Honeywell also offers external converters for AC or extended VDC (60 to 150V). And since the VM1 is designed to work with a quick-mount smart dock, it also has an internal bridge battery that provides power for up to 30 minutes even in very cold weather. That way it can be moved to a different vehicle or location without shut-down, or even operated while walking around for brief periods of time.
Wireless communication capabilities are becoming ever more important in vehicle-mounted computers, and so the Thor includes not only the usual WiFi and Bluetooth, but customers can also order an internal Gobi 2000 WWAN module for technology and carrier-independent wireless data (but not voice). And the Gobi module also includes assisted GPS.
"Thor" being the name of a hammer-wielding nordic god, the Honeywell Thor VM1 probably benefits from LXE's Akerstroms Trux connection (LXE bought Akerstroms Trux in 2008, Honeywell bought LXE in 2011) which was responsible for the company's Förj and Kärv vehicle-mount tablets. Good pedigree indeed.