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MobileDemand xTablet T8400

Rugged vertical market Tablet PC slate
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The xTablet T8400 is a rugged vertical market tablet computer being able to run the Windows XP Tablet PC edition. The machine is made by Twinhead in collaboration with MobileDemand. Twinhead is a highly respected Taiwanese notebook maker with significant expertise in ruggedized notebooks and tablets. MobileDemand specializes in hardware/software/service applications for certain vertical markets, most notably the brewery/beer sales and distribution business. The tablet, of course, can also be used in other mobile applications, such as insurance, warehousing, manufacturing, general field-based operations, inspection, construction and field service.

In many respects the Intel PIII-based T8400 has been replaced by MobileDemand's newer xTablet T8600 product, but it remains a workhorse. The design has been around for several generations and is thoroughly debugged and field-tested. It is solid as a rock, made mostly of magnesium, and is powered by a gargantuan 78 watt-hour Li-Ion battery that should easily last for a full shift. Not that this is generally much of an issue for MobileDemand's target clientele that often uses the T8400 Tablet PC with the vehicle-based xMount system that has access to onboard power and charging.

Despite its exemplary construction and ruggedness, the T8400 is a very compact machine with a footprint of just 10.6 x 7.2 inches and being just 1.65 inches thick. It also weighs less than four pounds, making it handy to carry around during customer visits. The flipside of the compact dimensions of this unit is the smallish 8.4-inch display. Its 800 x 600 SVGA resolution is marginal for web browsing and other applications that require a lot of real estate. However, it is remarkably bright and sharp and thus well suited for specialized sales automation software that is usually forms-based.

With two USB ports, modem and LAN jacks, a docking connector as well as audio in/out jacks, the T8400 is well connected. There is also an externally accessible PC Card Type II slot and an also externally accessible Compact Flash Type II slot. All ports and slots are individually sealed with rubbed plugs that are attached to the machine and thus cannot be lost. Should one break it can easily be replaced as the plugs are screwed onto the magnesium body. MobileDemand thought of everything.

There are other clever touches. Instead of using the large standard pen generally used for computers equipped with Wacom digitizers, the T8400 uses a small, tethered pen roughly the size of a PDA stylus. And the stylus has its own garage so that it doesn't just dangle there when you don't need it. For carrying around there's a hand strap on the back. It, too, is well thought out and makes handling the T8400 easy.

Thanks to its expansions slots the T8400 Tablet PC can easily be customized with various wireless and other options. There is also a handy snap-on numeric keypad (see above). (see xTablet 8400 page on MobileDemand website)

Added 8/2006
Processor Intel PIII Mobile Ultra Low Voltage
CPU Speed 933 MHz
Standard/Max RAM 256-640MB
Disk/drive 40GB HD, shock-mounted and removable
Optical drive Optional external
Card slots 1 Type II PC Card, 1 CF Card
Display type Outdoor-readable transmissive TFT
Display size/res 8.4" (800 x 600)
Digitizer/pens digitizer-touchscreen/1
Keyboard/scale Optional external, plus 8 onboard keys
Housing Magnesium alloy
Operating Temp -4 to 122 degrees F
Sealing IP54
Shock NA
Size (WxHxD) 10.6 x 7.2 x 1.65
Weight 3.7 pounds
Power 78 Watt-Hour Li-Ion (11.1V, 7.0Ah)
Interface 2 USB 2.0, RJ11, RJ45 10/100, docking connector, audio in/out, video
Wireless 802.11b, Bluetooth (opt.)
List price inquire
Contact www.ruggedtabletpc.com
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