Winmate 7-inch Rugged Tablet PC|
Super-compact, light Intel Atom-powered rugged tablet for GPS applications
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Winmate is a Taiwanese company founded in 1994. Specializing in industrial display technologies and solutions, Winmate also branched out into Tablet PCs, digital signage, marine grade displays and computers and, most recently, panels, embedded automation controllers, and rugged Mobile PCs such as the 7-inch Rugged Tablet PC shown here.
With this 7-inch Rugged Tablet PC (official model number W07I98M-RTA4), Winmate created a minimalist rugged device geared towards providing GPS information and computing power for military and similar deployments in the smallest possible package. To accomplish that, Winmate used a ruggedized enclosure barely larger than an old-style VHS tape and with a footprint significantly smaller than any netbook, even the older, smaller ones. This tablet measures just 8.5 x 4.75 inches and is about an inch and a half thick. And despite considerable ruggedness, it weighs well under two pounds.
The technology is minimal, too, but also perfectly adequate. Winmate uses either a 1.1GHz Intel Atom Z510 or the rather popular 1.6GHz Atom Z530 that has become pretty much the standard in vertical and industrial market tablets. No fan is needed, and no rotating hard disk either; storage is via 32GB solid state disk with a PATA interface to an internal mini-PCIe port, with SSD sizes up to 128GB available. The battery is either Li-Ion or Li-Polymer (not clear from documentation) with 19.25 watt-hour capacity, a bit too meager in our opinion. Winmate claims 2-3 hours battery life, which may be possible with Atom-based systems' observed minimum power draws, but a bit more would be better.
The wide-format display measures 7.0 inches diagonally and has 800 x 480 pixel WVGA resolution. The LED backlight is rather bright (500 nits) and the display, which uses a 4-wire resistive touch panel, is outdoor readable.
Physical controls are minimal, too, but perfectly suitable for tablet operation. There's a navigation diamond, a menu button, and three programmable buttons that can access up to six functions.
Like most rugged tablets, onboard connectivity is limited so as not to interfere with reliable sealing. There's a USB port and a military-style power connector that also provides an antenna lead. Everything else is via dock, where you get two USB ports, RS232 serial, video and LAN.
The tablet comes with integrated GPS, but no additional wireless functionality, which for military deployment is often neither needed nor desired. We haven't looked inside the unit and don't know if adding wireless is an option.
As the name declares, this super-compact Winmate tablet is rugged. It looks rugged, and Winmate has vast experience in building compact rugged mobile computers. Ruggedness specs, though, seem modest (IP54, 32 to 122F operating temperature, reference to the older MIL-STD-810F), though we've often found Asian ruggedness specs to be on the conservative side.
As is, depending on price, the compact size, low weight, and no-nonsense design may make this rugged tablet an interesting proposition for applications that primarily require GPS, mapping, situational awareness and similar.
Email: sales1 @ winmate.com.tw
OEM/ODM Contact: ODM@winmate.com.tw