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Rugged PDA gains supported Linux option

Sep 19, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Embedded Linux specialist SDG Systems is shipping a Linux-ized version of a ruggedized, “military-grade” PDA from Tripod Data Systems (TDS). SDG's Linux port for the Recon-X is based on a 2.6.15 kernel, and includes technical and warranty support. Tools, training, and customization services are also available.

(Click for larger view of the Recon-X)

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Like the original Recon model, the Recon-X is available from TDS only with a Microsoft operating system. SDG first ported Linux to the device in 2005, at the request of 10East, a vertical market ISV (independent software vendor) serving the railroad industry.

Compared to the original Recon PDA, the new Recon X-Series mainly adds built-in 802.11a/b/g WiFi and Bluetooth radios. SDG President Todd Blumer stated, “The addition of integrated 802.11 and Bluetooth frees up the dual CompactFlash slots to more easily accommodate GPS, barcode scanning, GPRS, and other peripherals or storage.”

Other new features include a built-in microphone, a redesigned keypad, and an improved color touchscreen.

Like the original Recon, the new Recon-X series PDAs meet the MIL-STD-810F standard for drops, vibration, and temperature extremes, and are IP67 rated for imperviousness to water and dust. The PDAs were designed for “all-day operation in extreme outdoor and industrial environments,” according to the SDG.

The new Recon-X series comprises the 200X, based on a 200MHz PXA255 processor, and the 400X, based on a 400MHz PXA255. Both models have 64MB of RAM. The 200X has 128MB of Flash, while the 400X comes with 256MB.

SDG's Linux port and services


(Click to enlarge)

SDG's Linux port for the Recon-X is based on a 2.6.15 Linux kernel. The user interface is based on Qtopia PDA Edition, version 2.1.2, enhanced by SDG Systems to manage the integrated Bluetooth and 802.11 technology (see screenshot at right). The operating system utilities are based on the Familiar Linux distribution, version 0.8.4.

A GPE (GNOME and GTK+) user interface option is also available upon request, as is a C++ and Python developers kit. Additionally, SDG offers custom Qtopia or GPE builds.

SDG President Todd Blumer said, “Many of our customers require the ability to add or remove applications from the standard builds. We offer the tools and training for these customers to develop their own installation image. Like the Linux operating system, we want to remain open and flexible in addressing our customer's needs.”

For more details about the new Recon-X, be sure to read our original coverage, here.


The Recon 200X and 400x with Linux support are available now from SDG, in colors that include OD Green, Yellow, and Gray. Pricing ranges from $1300 to $1700 in single-unit quantities.

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