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Systems, a Bohemia, New York based company that’s both been a manufacturer and distributor of ruggedized computing equipment since The company sports a substantial roster of rugged handhelds from various manufacturers and also an impressive array of RFID solutions.
They also offer an exceptionally long list of options and add-ons to get a device just right for a customer’s application, and so we jumped on their offer to gets some hands-on with one of their premier RFID-enable, pistol grip-equipped keypad handhelds. As you can tell from the picture above, the AT is an industrial looking device and clearly a tool for the job.
There’s an abbreviated keypad designed for rapid numeric data entry as well as phone-style typing or making calls. But while the AT can indeed be used as a rugged smartphone, A. Systems has different game in mind. On the surface that seems like a tall statement, but a look at the big Moto’s specs shows that the comparison isn’t that far fetched, and the seems a newer design.
There’s a significant market for these kinds of machines, and getting a bite of it is lucrative business. And a closer look at A. C Systems reveals that they know how to compete with the big boys. That’s certainly a very nice feather in ACC’s cap. But let’s get back to earth and see what the AT is all about.
Atid AT870 User Manual
AT—hardware The pictures below show the AT from the front and from all sides. If you only looked at the side views, you’d think you’re dealing with some sort of sinister semi-automatic weapon here, but looks, of course, deceive.
And the PDA alone weighs just under 10 ounces. That’s about the size and weight flimsy consumer handhelds used to be a decade or so ago; the AT manages that feat in a package that is, of course, far more advanced and also very considerably more rugged to boot.
The display measures 3. The AT has a resistive touch screen, a time-tested technology still relevant in the field where it may rain on the display or people wear gloves, but very different from the effortless multi-touch tapping we’re used to now. Tried and true technology also resides under the hood. No fancy Snapdragon or Tegra chip here. If more storage is needed, which is likely, there’s a microSD card slot that supports up to 32GB.
The basic AT comes with integrated Almost everything else is a la carte—no need to pay for functionality not needed on a job. In terms of construction, the AT consists of two cleanly designed and crafted plastic halves. The halves are secured together via eight small Torx-type screws. The board is also very clean, with a minimum of components. Providing access to card slots inside a battery compartment provides extra protection for the cards, but it also means that the battery compartment must be sealed well.
ATID AT Handheld RFID Reader SDK
In the AT, O-ring seals press against the battery to provide that seal, so care must be taken to keep those seals clean and undamaged.
To the left is what appears to be a Honeywell Adaptus SR standard range 2D imager with its circuit board. The imager has an LED “aimer” and is designed to scan from about two inches to about a foot for a standard 30 mil bar code i. Below the scanner is the tiny camera assembly. The module very securely screws onto the AT The pistol grip works in conjunction with the RF module. It secures against the RF module and is then held in place via a spring-loaded lever.
Microsoft describes CE 5. Windows CE allows you to build a wide range of innovative, small footprint devices. A typical Windows CE-based device is designed for a specific use, often runs disconnected from other computers, and requires a small OS that has a deterministic response to interrupts see Windows CE 5.
Now truth be told, Windows CE is not a pretty operating system. That’s the bad news, and one can only wonder what caused Microsoft to keep things this basic for so many years. The good news is that after all is said and done, there’s still nothing that provides full and totally reliable interoperability with existing Microsoft enterprise infrastructure and enables the use of the ubiquitous Microsoft development tools thousands programmers are familiar with. But then why not at least Windows Mobile, which is a somewhat more human-oriented interface sitting on top of Windows CE?
Probably because as long as just functionality matters, might as well go with the most basic and purest form qtid an OS where it’s simpler to provide exactly the functionality needed for a job, nothing more and nothing less. Below you can see some of the basic att870 of Windows CE.
On the left is the blue Home screen. It usually contains nothing but the icons for a few atie functions. The picture in the center shows the walking pop-up scroll menus that provide access to all at8770 rest of the applications installed on the device.
Here you have access to all the device’s utilities and helper apps. Taid it also contains a task switcher see bottom right of the right picture above that you can use to quickly jump between active apps, or also close the active app, all apps, or all but the active app. What’s the difference between Windows CE 5. Microsoft redesigned the kernel, you can run larger and more complex apps, and there’s a new files system that supports larger storage, larger file sizes and also removable media encryption.
It’s all quite arcane, and decisions as to what OS should be used will almost always depend on intended application and legacy IT frameworks for more on Windows CE 6. It’s a mixed blessing as web browsing on a 3. It does work, though, and most customers will likely use the browser atir an interface to custom web-based applications designed specifically for the small display. Below you can see what it looks like, and how readable if low res displays can be: Developers, of course, can use GPS input for whatever custom applications are required.
The AT has a dedicated phone button on its keyboard, and that’s because it can be used as a phone. Push the button and the phone app comes up, and from there you can not only make and receive calls provided that you have an taid SIM card in the unitbut also configure phone af870, access a list of recent calls, check your contacts, and use SMS.
It’s not very elegant, but we’re not talking iPhone here. Below are a few other apps that come in handy and show what the AT is capable of doing.
On the left you can see the camera app that can be used to document things. You can zoom in and out, do exposure compensation, rotate the picture, and turn an LED illuminator on and off. Image quality is ati but not great, so it should be used within its limits. In the at87 is a sample scanner app and scanner configurator.
The Sign Pad app shown on the right is an example of how the AT can be used for signature capture. There’s the micro-SD Card slot located inside the battery compartment. Atiid the wireless side, the AT comes with For WiFi, support of the “a” and “n” standards would have been nice, but that’s fairly uncommon in handhelds and smartphones.
Atiid AT does come with Bluetooth version 2. It can, according to A. There are six programmable function keys and two more on the right side of the unitan integrated navigation diamond, and you can toggle key functions from lower case alpha to upper case alpha and numeric.
After a bit of getting used to it all ativ quite well, and the white on black keys have blueish illumination so you can use the keypad in the dark.
For audio, there is a microphone below the right bottom, a rather powerful speaker above the display, and a small headphone at the bottom. Normal operation will probably be a combination of stylus and keypad. For data entry, the AT offers a number of options. You can use the physical keypad, you can use the onscreen pop-up keyboard, or you can use the Transcriber handwriting recognizer. The block and letter recognizers that are usually part of Windows Mobile-based systems are not include.
Any of those input methods, once mastered, work well. Below you can see screenshots of the onscreen keyboards and Transcriber.
Power and expansion slots You can’t ever have too much battery power when you work in the field, but things also shouldn’t get too big and unwieldy. The AT’s primary internal battery offers 3.
To remove it, take off the pistol grip if installedthen unlock a small sliding lever that securely holds the battery, which is part of the AT’s body, in place. According to ACC Systems, the main battery is good for 12 hours on a base unit with the 2D barcode imager based on scans in one work day. The handle of the optional pistol grip can accommodate a second, larger battery, that one rated at 4,mAH and we measured a current of 4. That adds up to another That’s quite a bit for a handheld.
Systems doesn’t indicate battery life, but the device should make it through a full workday even with heavy use. For additional protection against data loss, the AT has a small internal backup battery that’s good for about an hour.
As always, backlight intensity, backlight shut-off and device shutoff can all be used to optimize battery life. Since Windows CE devices, including the AT, are instant-on, it’s generally good practice to have the device quickly go to sleep when it is not used. This can greatly extend battery life, though it can also be annoying to have to wake it up all the time. We used a 16GB Kingston card, and it instantly showed up, ready for use. The microSD card slot is springloaded, but still requires a bit of fidgeting to get the card in and out.
Ruggedness Ruggedness is a good part of what you pay for when you choose an industrial-strength piece of equipment over standard consumer electronics.
The difference in price can be substantial, in part because engineering and manufacturing something that can truly stand up to abuse is expensive, and in part because sales of rugged equipment are usually at a much lower level than ah870 of standard consumer products.
So in addition of finding just the right balance between size, weight, features, speed, and battery life, rugged product designers also must balance the degree of ruggedness against size, weight, and cost. Where does the AT fall in? As far as the operating temperature a8t70 goes, the device can be used within a range of to 50 degrees Centigrade -4 to Fahrenheit.
That is ta870 far wider range than the conservative 41 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit generally listed for consumer electronics, and means the AT can be used in all but the most extreme climates.