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Medical tablet gets Atom, 12.1-inch screen

Mar 13, 2009 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Arbor announced a Linux-compatible tablet PC targeting medical applications, with a sealed, easily sanitized case. The “M1255” has a 12.1-inch touchscreen display, Atom N270 processor, 60GB hard disk drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, two-megapixel camera, barcode scanner, fingerprint reader, and an RFID reader, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of Arbor's M1255)


Motion Computing's F5
(Click image for further information)

Perhaps vendors are hoping that health care reform in the U.S. will lead to an increase in IT spending, because Arbor's new M1255 is the latest in a series of devices employing the MCA (mobile clinical assistant) reference platform devised by Intel. The M1255 also appears to be the first MCA device marketed as supporting Linux.

First commercialized last year by Motion Computing with its Windows-ready C5 and closely related F5 (right), the MCA design specifies a touchscreen tablet computer with sealed buttons and ports, an integrated carrying handle, an integrated fingerprint reader, an RFID reader, WiFi, a two megapixel camera, and a separate docking station.

Since being released by two additional vendors, MCA devices all look very similar and offer near-identical functionality. Differences between the three previous MCA tablets, all of which appear to be focused on the Windows market, can be summarized briefly, as follows:

  • Motion Computing's F5 has a 1.2GHz Core Solo U1400 processor, 10.4-inch display with 1024 x 768 resolution, up to 2GB of RAM, a 40GB HDD (hard disk drive) or optional 32GB SSD (solid state drive), and an optional cellular modem

  • Panasonic's Toughbook H1 has a 1.86GHz Atom Z540 processor, a 10.4-inch display with 1024 x 768 resolution, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB HDD, plus cellular and GPS options

  • TabletKiosk's MCA i1040XT has a 1.06Ghz Core Solo U2100 processor, a 10.4-inch display with 1024 x 768 resolution, 2GB of RAM, an 80GB HDD or 32GB SSD, and an optional cellular modem

All these devices include the core MCA functionality, and claim to shrug off being dropped. They are also similarly IP54-rated for water and dust resistance. The MCA tablets do not include slots for removable flash storage, apparently because apertures in their cases could harbor germs, and the devices are said to tolerate sanitizing washdowns with alcohol and other chemicals.

Arbor's new MCA, the M1255, now checks into hospitals worldwide with one distinguishing feature: A 12.1-inch display. Rather than the above processor choices, the device gets Intel's 1.6Ghz Atom N270, 82945GSE northbridge, and ICH7M southbridge.


Arbor's M1255 in its docking station

The previously released MCA devices have no wired interfaces except for power connectors, plus flush pins designed to make contact with their optional docking stations (above). Arbor says the M1255 does have a 10/100 Ethernet port, which is presumably protected behind some kind of germ-shunning door.

The M1255 includes up to 2GB of RAM, a 1.8-inch SATA HDD with 60GB of storage, and dual batteries offering a total of seven cells. The device also offers 802.11b/g/n wireless networking, Bluetooth, a two-megapixel camera, a barcode scanner, an RFID reader, and a fingerprint scanner.

The M1255's touchscreen display provides 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, identical to the MCA offerings listed above but spread over a larger area. The device additionally incorporates dedicated keys for navigation, starting audio or video recordings, taking pictures, doing RFID or barcode scans, or sending a “secure attention sequence.”

Features and specifications listed by Arbor for the M1255 include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom N270 clocked at 1.6GHz
  • Memory — Up to 1GB of DDR2 RAM
  • Display — 12.1-inch touchscreen display with 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Camera — 2 megapixels
  • Keys — Directional pad, camera, RFID on/off, barcode reader on/off, audio and video recording, secure attention sequence
  • Storage — 60GB HDD
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11b/g/n
    • Bluetooth
    • RFID
    • Barcode scanner

  • Other I/O — Docking connector
  • Battery — Standard three-cell battery pack and optional four-cell battery; life not cited
  • Operating temperature — 41 to 95 deg. F (5 to 35 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 12.0 x 10.9 x 1.0 inches (307 x 277 x 25mm)
  • Weight — 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) with both batteries

According to Arbor, the M1255 runs Linux, Windows Vista, or Windows XP. Pricing and availability were not cited, but additional information may be found on the Arbor website, here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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