To function effectively in a highly mobile environment, today’s police
officer requires a computer that is both compact and rugged. While a tablet PC
offers greater mobility than a laptop, it also presents certain challenges. Among
these are the lack of a traditional keyboard, shorter battery life, the
durability to withstand harsh conditions, and the robust processing power
needed to run multiple applications from a police car.
As agencies segue from laptops to the enhanced mobility of tablet PCs,
industry leaders continue to address these challenges. A broad spectrum of
semi- and fully rugged tablets are now available, with user-friendly touchscreens
and optional keyboards, high-performance processing systems, and extended
James Bland, Consultant and Director of Interphase, a strategy
development consulting company with extensive work in the mobility tech market,
believes that the widespread adoption of tablets and smart phones by law
enforcement agencies will continue to grow. He attributes this to several
factors. The widening gap between the price of a mobile data terminal (MDT) and
that of a tablet PC has made it a more cost-effective option, especially for
agencies operating on limited budgets.
Where MDTs were once considered more rugged, today’s tablets are built
with solid state drives and designed to resist moisture, shock, and drops.
Finally, the mobility factor is simply too strong to ignore. Studies have shown
that police officers rarely remove their laptop MDTs from the patrol vehicle,
often opting to use a personal smartphone or tablet in addition to their radio
when outside of their vehicle.
Bland pointed out that the device that will dominate will have to be
more mobile and cost-effective than the current crop of MDTs. “Tablets and
phones could merge into a “phablet” that provides real-time access to critical
communications regardless of where the officer is located. Or perhaps more
likely, officers will carry a single mobile device, maybe even a wearable that
tethers to a fixed smart display in the vehicle,” Bland said. The following
companies have recently introduced new tablet PCs that are lighter and more
compact, yet deliver the durability and reliability required for challenging
American Reliance, Inc. (AMREL®)
AMREL is a leading provider of mobile computing solutions for the
military, public safety, healthcare, and industrial markets. Their rugged
mobile computer division designs and manufactures small-footprint, long End of
Life, highly integrated solutions that include fully rugged laptops, tablets,
convertible tablets, PDAs, and rack-mountable network equipment.
AMREL’s line of ROCKY rugged computers are open-platformed,
customizable to ensure low NRE on low volume orders, and can easily be upgraded
and reconfigured. Available with either an 8.4-inch or 12.1-inch screen, these
rugged tablets are AMREL military grade, capable of handling the toughest
environments and conditions.
The ROCKY DR10 and DK10 Rugged Tablets are ideal for applications that
demand portability, capability and ruggedness, such as field data collection,
homeland security, and law enforcement. Equipped with a powerful Intel® Sandy
Bridge i7 processor, these fully rugged tablets have been independently
certified for MIL-STD 810 and IP65. Both run on Windows® 7/8 and feature a
sunlight-readable LED display and single touch-resistant panel touchscreen.
Expanded mobile broadband options offer a greater choice of carriers, and
numerous wireless options include wireless LAN, WAN, Bluetooth®, and GPS.
The ROCKY DR10 has an 8.4-inch screen and weighs 4.2 pounds, while the
DK10 has a large 12.1-inch screen and weighs 5.5 pounds. Both run on Windows
7/8, are powered by Lithium-Ion batteries, and come with an optional
multi-battery charger. While the DR10 and DK10 are equipped with an
upgradeable, removable SATA II HDD 500, solid-state hard drives are also
available. AMREL extends the manufacturer’s warranty to all modifications it
Brite Computers provides expert IT solutions and managed services for
network and data security, virtualization, and computing infrastructure. The
company recently introduced the Q-Active dock series that, when combined with
the Fujitsu Q series tablet, provides both the mobility and ruggedness required
for in-the-field computing. Brite, in collaboration with Lund Industries,
engineered the revolutionary technology of the Q-Active Vehicle Dock based on
extensive research, customer feedback, and real-life usage to produce a custom
solution for public safety applications.
The vehicle dock’s active design allows for easy install and removal of
the tablet with no disconnect from the peripherals. Featuring the smallest
footprint in the industry, the powder-coated universal steel swing-away mount
gives mobile users easy access to in-dash controls and full use of the
The Fujitsu Q-Series Tablet weighs just 1.87 lbs. and features an
11.6-inch backlit, anti-glare screen with wide viewing angles. Equipped with
the latest Intel® technology, it supports up to an i5-3437U vPro Processor with
Turbo Boost and 4GB DDR-3-1600 MHz Memory. Other features include a
high-definition Webcam front camera, rear 5MP FHD Webcam with Autofocus, and
Fully rugged and certified MIL-STD-810G for temperature, shock,
vibration, and humidity, the Q-Series is designed to perform in harsh mobile
environments. Providing optimal security, the Q-Series Tablet is the first of
its kind to have two-factor biometric authentication as required by the CJIS
If any product is faulty (DOA) due to a manufacturer’s defect, Brite
guarantees 100 percent credit or product replacement during the warranty
period, based on manufacturer’s policy. Brite is an active participant for
several state contracts (NYS OGS, COSTARS, PEPPM and WSCA) that allow
government agencies the ability to easily purchase Brite goods and services.
A leading global manufacturer and supplier of innovative notebook and
tablet computers, GammaTech provides cost-effective high-performance mobile
computing solutions for business, healthcare, and public safety. In 2013,
GammaTech introduced the Durabook CA10 Rugged Tablet, designed specifically for
mobile use in challenging conditions. According to company president, Jen Chen,
the introduction of the CA10 continues GammaTech’s heritage of offering the
best overall value for mobile users, providing optimum reliability and
Weighing just 2.9 pounds, the Durabook CA10 features a 10.1-inch TFT LCD
display with a resistive touch-screen panel and LED backlight. An optional
sunlight readable screen and all-touch panel with tempered glass are also
available. It supports a convenient digitizer for turning analog touch inputs
into digital inputs, and provides support for a number of wireless
communications that include Intel Wi-Fi Link 135 and Bluetooth 4.0. The CA10
runs on Windows 7 and features an Intel Atom Processor N2600 running at 1.6GHz,
supported by 2GB of DDRIII memory and an mSATA SSD of 64GB or 128GB.
The Durabook CA10 is built to MIL-STD-810G specifications for drop and
shock, IP-43 rated against dust and spills, and withstands temperatures as low
as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot swappable dual-battery design allows up to
eight hours of power, and features a quick menu support for on/off switches for
its various devices, volume and brightness adjustment, and on-screen keyboard.
GammaTech offers both standard limited and extended no-fault warranties
for their line of Durabook products. The CA10 has a MSRP of $1,299 can be
purchased through authorized distributors and resellers, or on the GammaTech
Established in 1989 as a joint venture with GE Aerospace to supply
defense electronic products to the military, Getac’s business has
since expanded to include rugged notebooks, tablets, and handheld devices for
both industry and public safety. In October 2013, the company introduced two
new products, the V110 rugged convertible and the F110 rugged tablet that
incorporate the latest fourth-generation Intel Core i5-4300U or i7-4600U
processors to provide greater speed and efficiency. They are both compact and
lightweight for enhanced portability.
Less than 12 x 9 inches in size, a mere 1.3 inches thick, and weighing
just over four pounds, the V110 is 28 percent lighter and 30 percent thinner
than the previous generation. With its unique multi-position hinge, the V110
easily transforms from a laptop to a tablet, providing optimum versatility in
The F110 is a large-screen rugged tablet that offers superior
performance in a compact design.
Featuring an 11.6-inch backlit display, this lightweight, yet rugged
tablet is less than 1 inch thick, measures just over 12 x 8 inches, and weighs
only 3 pounds. Dual hot-swappable batteries provide up to 13 hours of
The V110 and F110 both feature a LumiBond™ sunlight-readable LED 11.6-inch
display with multi-touch technology. Both are MIL-STD 810G and IP65 certified
as well, and feature removable flash-based storage based for the retention of
sensitive data when the computer changes hands. Backed by Getac’s three-year,
bumper-to-bumper warranty, which includes damage that occurs due to accidents
and environmental exposure, prices start at $2,249 for the F110 and $3,299 for
Recognized as one of Iowa’s fastest-growing companies in 2013,
MobileDemand is a leading provider of rugged mobile computing solutions for
both the private and public sectors. Their rugged highly mobile PC tablets are
designed for one-hand operation, allowing law enforcement and public safety
personnel to keep one hand unencumbered at all times for additional safety.
Designed specifically for mobile workers who require superior connectivity,
MobileDemand’s C1300 is a convertible tablet PC that quickly and easily
transforms from a rugged laptop to a rugged tablet PC.
The xTablet C1300 is a high-performance, fully rugged convertible
tablet that meets MIL-STD 810G requirements and is tested to survive drops from
a 4-foot height. Its unique spill-resistant design extends the life of the
device by allowing liquids to dissipate through the bottom of the computer,
reducing the risk of damage. A hot-swappable 6-cell Li-Ion battery provides
four hours of battery time, while an optional second Li-Ion battery runs a minimum
of eight hours, providing all-day extended use for optimal productivity.
Compact and lightweight, the xTablet C1300 is WLAN and WWAN compatible,
with optional Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS available. It is powered by an Intel Core
i5-3427U processor and Intel HM77 chipset with 4GB (standard) to 16GB RAM, and
runs on the Windows 7/8. A large 12.1-inch convertible TFT backlit touch with a
sunlight-readable display option provides optimum viewing indoors, in-vehicle,
and in the field. It offers keyboard and finger touch data entry, as well as
signature capture and more precise handwriting recognition.
The xTablet C1300 features TPM 1.2 technology, a fingerprint reader,
and BIOS administrator password/boot password for enhanced security. It comes
with a 1.3 mega-pixel camera and a full suite of optional accessories that
include an office dock, vehicle dock, and car adaptor. MobileDemand offers a
broad range of warranty and non-warranty repair services and upgrades, as well
as extended warranty programs for potential future repairs.
Panasonic System Communications
Company of North America
Panasonic solutions for government are delivered by Panasonic System
Communications Company of North America, Division of Panasonic Corporation of
North America. Their line of Toughpad™ and Toughbook® mobile computers are
built to increase uptime and reduce repair costs, resulting in lower total cost
of ownership and greater return on investment.
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 is a fully rugged 10-inch Windows 8.1 Pro
tablet PC built to provide enhanced efficiency in the field. It is equipped
with an Intel Core i5 vPro™ processor, as well as a complete range of
integrated wireless options, such as embedded 4G LTE or 3G multi-carrier mobile
broadband, WiFi and Bluetooth®. Delivering desktop-class performance, this
lightweight, compact tablet weighs just 2.5 pounds and measures 10.6 inches (L)
x 7.4 inches (W) x 0.8-inch (H).
The Toughpad’s rugged magnesium alloy chassis is MIL-STD-810G and
IP65-certified to handle 4-foot drops, vibration, shock, liquid, and all types
of extreme weather conditions. Its HD LED screen can be used in direct sunlight,
and is enabled for both 10-point multi-touch and digitizer pen input. A Li-Ion
battery pack supports eight hours of operation, with a charging time of 2.5
hours off, three hours on. Other features include a 720p webcam with mic and a
3MP rear camera with auto-focus and LED light.
Available accessories for the Toughpad FZ-G1 include vehicle docks,
rugged keyboards and printers, and multi-unit charging stations. Security
features include Computrace® theft protection, Intel anti-theft technology, and
Kensington cable lock slot. The Toughpad FZ-G1 comes with a three-year limited
warranty on parts and labor. Purchasing information, in addition to federal
government and public sector contracts, can be accessed on the Panasonic
Since 1998, Xplore Technologies has been a leading global provider of
rugged tablets that are deployed across a broad spectrum of industries and
sectors. Robust and able to withstand nearly any hazardous condition or
environmental extreme, Xplore tablets offer high ROI and competitive pricing.
In March 2013, the company announced the newest addition to its rugged tablet
portfolio, the iX104C5 DMSR-M2. Designed for frontline personnel, this
dual-mode sunlight readable, fully rugged mobile computing solution features an
integrated CAC Reader built into the tablet chassis.
Powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, the iX104C5-M2 tablet provides
dual SSDs, up to 8GB of memory, and a user-configurable RAID array that boosts
read/write times and allows for data redundancy. The tablet is equipped with an
optically engineered rugged sunlight-viewable display with AllVue™ Xtreme
technology, and a user interface featuring an auto-switching digitizer that
supports both glove- and active-pen inputs. Enchanced multi-modal wireless
communications, such as WiFi and GPS, give users ready access to real-time
critical information on-site. “Quiet Mode” operating capability supports
“lights out” tactical military and first-responder use cases.
The iX104C5-M2 is MIL-STD 810G tested with the highest drop rating in
the industry, and is designed to protect against foreign object damage (FOD).
Xplore’s Cool Touch™ Thermal Management system keeps the system cool while
maintaining a submersible IP67 rating. The CAC reader supports standard ISO
7816 smart cards and is FIPS 201-1 and CCID compliant. Additional security
features include Intel Anti-Theft, a Kensington lock slot, and an optional
Computrace Application Agent.
Xplore Technologies offers a standard three-year limited warranty on
new tablet products, but can also provide extended services such as 48-hour
turnaround, and four- and five-year warranties. They also offer xDefend
Accidental Damage Protection, a full-coverage repair/replacement program that
covers accidental damage to the tablet or accessories. Interested agencies can
submit a request for pricing on Xplore’s website.
Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at