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Second-generation tablet PC runs Linux

Sep 18, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Nova Mobility Solutions has announced an industrial tablet PC that runs Linux on an Intel Atom Z510 processor. The ruggedized SideArm2 SA2I weighs under two pounds, has a 7-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen, and targets healthcare, military, government, mobile sales, parking, fleet, and production management applications.

(Click for larger view of Nova's SideArm2 SA2I)

Nova claims it has sold its original SideArm device for seven years, calling it “the world's first rugged UMPC.” The first of a new SideArm2 family, the SA2I incorporates feedback from “tens of thousands” of customer, the company claims. Another claim is that the SA2I offers “more [storage] options than any other computer.”

The 1.1GHz Atom Z510 is backed up by 1GB of RAM, expandable to 2GB. The SA2i has a pair of drive bays suitable for DiskOnModules (DOMs). The bays support DOM capacities of 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB SSDs, with a single 4GB DOM standard. Alternatively, the second storage bay can be equipped with a 60-120GB hard disk drive. Storage can also be expanded via a MicroSD slot.

SideArm2 SA2I in yellow

Measuring 7.6 x 7.7 x 1 inches, the SA2I is housed in a sealed magnesium case that has been drop tested for rugged use, says the company. The 7-inch touchscreen comes with a daylight readable option, and is said to offer “palm rejection,” meaning that the touch digitizer will only react to finger pressure as opposed to inadvertent swipes of the palm. The design also features a backlit QWERTY keyboard, and optional long-life batteries for up to a claimed ten hours of operation.

SA2I in black

Specifications listed for the SideArm2 are said to include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom 1.1 GHz Z510 with US15W chipset
  • Memory — 1GB, upgradeable to 2GB
  • SSD storage — Two slots with 4GB DOM SSD standard; each slot upgradable to 4GB, 8GB,16GB, or 32GB DOM SSD for total of 64GB
  • HDD storage — 60-120GB HDD (or additional 32-64GB SSD)
  • Memory expansion — MicroSD slot
  • Additional expansion — PC Express card
  • Display — 7-inch, 800 x 480 LED touchscreen with daylight readable option
  • WiFi — 802.11a/b/g
  • Bluetooth — Bluetooth 2.0
  • GPS — integrated GPS
  • Optional features — RFID; bar code reader; iris scanner; 3G cellular modem
  • USB — 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • A/V — DC-in; microphone jack; headset jack
  • Power — Li-ion rechargeable battery with 3 hours duration standard; optional 7- and 10-hour battery options; docking expansion connector
  • Dimensions — 7.6 x 7.7 x 1 inches
  • Weight — under 2 lbs
  • Operating system — Linux, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP Pro Tablet, Vista

Stated George Ecker, CEO of Nova, “Our industrial clients want a no-compromise, lightweight, sealed, full function computer that can stand up to demanding environments and can go all day.”

Nova recently entered into a letter of intent to merge into Octus, Inc.


The SA2I model of the SideArm2 will be available in November, says Nova, but pricing was not disclosed. More information may be found here.

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