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JLT Mobile Computers

http://www.jltmobilecomputers.comThere is an abundance of ruggedized mobile computers available on the public safety market, and most of them share a similar form factor: that of a standard laptop computer. These designs work well for traveling businessmen and people needing computer power in dirty environments, but they don’t always work as well in a patrol car. Patrol cars, already stuffed with equipment and officers, cry out for an innovative design that is more flexible and ergonomic than a laptop can usually provide. 

JLT Mobile Computers is a relative newcomer to the public safety market, but one that has been impressively successful in a short span of time. The most evident distinction between JLT’s public safety computer and those of most other manufacturers is that most of the “guts” of the computer are built into the daylight readable display unit that mounts on the dashboard of most mobile units. The keyboard, with or without a pointing device / mouse, can be attached to the display or moved to a more convenient location in the vehicle.

JLT’s showcase model for public safety, the JLT-1205-PS, is designed in this one-piece form factor. The display adapts to a variety of mounts, including one that allows the computer to swivel to one side to permit immediate access to controls or other instruments that may be mounted underneath. The display has a brightness rating of 1,000 NITs (a NIT is a luminance measurement equal to one candle per square meter measured perpendicular to the rays from the source), where many other computers marketed to law enforcement have displays in the 400–600 NIT bracket. The brighter the display, the more readable it will be in direct sunlight. 

With JLT’s computers, the luminance of the display is controlled by a large dial mounted on the side, so that the display can be dimmed anywhere between full brightness and total darkness instantly. This is much easier to adjust than the typical keyboard command that adjusts the luminance of the display in increments determined by multiple presses of a function key. The display has a viewing angle of 120 degrees, considerably wider than most other mobile computers. This wider viewing angle makes the display more easily readable by both the driver and the passenger in a patrol car, without moving the display. 

The display is also touchscreen-sensitive, making a separate keyboard unnecessary for many tasks. Among the keyboards that are offered is a backlit model with five levels of illumination and a night vision-conserving red backlight. 

The JLT-1205-PS comes in a variety of configurations that can be mixed and matched to the needs of the customer. Microprocessors are available in increments of 400 MHz, 700 MHz and 800 MHz, and memory at 128, 256 and 512 MB. Hard drives of up to 40 GB are available, and are removable. The computers offer more ports than most of the competition, with two Type II or one Type III  32-bit CARDBUS (supporting CDPD, 1Xrtt, GPRS, 802.11x or Bluetooth), two serial ports, two USB 1.1A ports, one Firewire / IEEE 1394 port, an RJ-45 Ethernet port, a DB9 mouse / keyboard port adaptable to PS / 2, and buzzer, microphone, CD line-in and line-out stereo jacks. The computers have no fans, blowers or air filters, all of which are common points of failure. 

The computer is designed to all of the typical ruggedized standards, MILSPEC 810C and 810E compliant, and has been tested for durability in a HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Testing) simulator as well as Track Vehicle tests. JLT has been producing rugged electronic components since 1979, and rugged mobile computers since the early 1990s. 

JLT offers two choices of warranty. Three-year warranties come with a guaranteed trade-in value for a newer model machine, or a five-year inclusive warranty is available. All internal components of the machines can be upgraded, giving the hardware longer longevity. 

Tim Dees is a former officer who writes and consults about applications of technology in law enforcement. He can be reached at (509) 585-6704 or by e-mail at

Published in Law and Order, Jan 2004

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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