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Tablet PCs use Intel’s Atom

Apr 25, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Nexcom has announced three tablet computers targeting logistics, health care, and vehicle applications. The MTC 2100, MTC 2100-MD, and MRC 2100 use Intel's Atom processor, and feature 8.4-inch sunlight-readable displays, fingerprint readers, Infineon TPMs (trusted platform modules), and battery life up to 8 hours, Nexcom… claims.

The devices were illustrated running Windows XP, but should be binary-compatible with any x86 operating system, such as the many desktop Linux distributions available for that architecture. This assumes that the distribution includes drivers supporting the Atom processor's US15W SCH (system controller hub) companion chipset. This seems likely, though, given that the part reportedly integrates chipset IP previously used in other Intel chipsets, according to various sources. Given their small displays and constrained performance, the tablets would likely work best with Linux distributions specifically aimed at the form-factor, such as the Intel-sponsored Moblin project (screenshots below), Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded, and Poky Linux, to name only a few.

Moblin screenshots
(Click any to enlarge)

The 2100 series tablets share the same basic design, as the photo below shows. While Nexcom has released relatively few specifications, all of the devices use Intel's Atom processor, All operate without a fan, and feature 8.4-inch touchscreen displays, said to be sunlight-readable.

Nexcom's MTC 2100 (left), MTC 2100-MD (middle), and MRC 2100

Said to provide from four to eight hours of battery life, Nexcom's triplets differ in more than just color:

  • The MTC 2100, aimed at logistics and field service applications, includes GPS, based on SiRF's starIII chipset. Also onboard is a laser barcode scanner.
  • The MTC 2100-MD, aimed at medical and POS (point-of-sale) applications, includes an onboard RFID reader.
  • The MRC 2100, designed for outdoor and vehicle use, has added rubber padding installed, and is said to withstand drops of up to four feet

The devices include 802.11b/g/n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0, and accept optional “3.5G” cellular or WiMAX modules. They additionally sport 1.3 megapixel cameras, plus a connector for an optional docking station. Dual independent displays are also supported, likely via the dock.

Water and dust proof to the IP54 standard, the devices add several security features. In addition to integral fingerprint readers, they also include an Infineon TPM (trusted platform module) 1.2 chip. The TPM provides for the secure generation and storage of cryptographic keys, and it also provides a hardware pseudo-random number generator.

Nexcom did not release pricing or availability information for the 2100 series tablets.

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