Motion Computing Launches Rugged Tablet PC at CES

By Jennifer Lawinski

Among all the tablets making their debut at this year's Consumer Electronics Show is a new product from Motion Computing designed for businesses that have sturdier computer needs than can be met by an iPad.

Motion Computing launched the CL900, a small, rugged tablet PC for workers on the go and in the field like fire inspectors, plumbers and claims adjusters. It runs on the Windows 7 operating system and can be configured with a 30GB or 62GB solid-state drive and up to 2GB of RAM.

The 2.1-pound device has been designed to survive drops of up to four feet, and its battery will last up to 8 hours. It comes with optional integrated Gobi 3000 mobile broadband with GPS, 802.11a/b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth 3.0 and a wireless SIM port. Its display is made of Corning's Gorilla Glass, designed to be more durable and scratch-resistant than many tablet displays.

John Hill, president of Allegiance Tablet PC Experts, a solution provider based in Horsham, Pa., said the CL900 is a good fit for customers in several vertical markets.

"We sell mostly to people that are in field service, public adjusters—people that are out actually walking around computing and don't make any money when they're in the office but when they're at the customer site or the job site," Hill said.

"They may not need some of the more robust products they have in the Motion line. This has the ability to bridge the gap between some of the cheap machines—the $500 tablets that are great for consumers who want to control their TV or Facebook. But for someone in a work van who's going to job sites, I think you need something that's a little more manly. The majority of the customers that we deal with, they're plumbers and electricians and HVAC guys."

Hill is also pleased with the device's price tag, which Motion has only identified as "less than $1,000."

What's Motion's tablet missing?

"There's always different demands," Hill said. "But probably the one [feature] that would have been the coolest, but I understand why they didn't [add], is to have a hot-swappable battery. They have that in their other device, the F5V and the G3500. … The field people use these for electronic medical records … and when you're running long days and multiple shifts, having the hot-swappable batteries are nice."

The CL900 is set to ship early in the second quarter of 2011. Optional features include front- and rear-facing cameras, a full complement of ports including a USB and SD Card, and a counter-top docking station.

"The CL900 meets one of the fastest growing areas of enterprise demand in the current refresh cycle: business-ready tablet devices that improve worker productivity and meet security and compliance needs," Eddie O'Brien, Microsoft U.S. OEM vice president, said in a statement.

"By harnessing the power of the Microsoft platform to introduce a new and innovative form factor that supports significant mobile functionality and easily integrates into existing business infrastructures, Motion can differentiate itself to reach across industries and compete for new lines of business."

This article was originally published on 2011-01-05