Whitepaper - AMobile Intelligent Corp.

Whitepaper
AMobile Rugged Tablet GT78
Elegant, rugged and very compact 8-inch Android tablet for IoT (Internet
of Things) and numerous other applications
By Conrad H. Blickenstorfer; photography by Carol Cotton
AMobile Intelligent Corp., announced the Rugged Tablet GT78 in 2014 as a
general-purpose large-screen rugged Android handheld, and also as a building block for
emerging IoT applications. RuggedPCReview has now had a chance for extended hands-on
with the Rugged Tablet GT78, and this report presents our review and observations.
AMobile calls the Rugged Tablet GT78 (as well as the smaller G55) "rugged IoT handheld
devices," and that requires a bit of explanation.
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Rugged Tablet GT78 and IoT, the Internet of Things
IoT stands for "Internet of Things" and describes a paradigm where the current internet
communication between people or people with
machines is extended to "things" communicating
as well. "Things" refers to anything — such as
homes, doors, wash machines, cars, subsystems,
etc. — that, via sensors, can collect data and
pass that data on for processing and action. The
IoT infrastructure consists of four layers, those
being

a) sensors devices,

b) IoT gateways that share and filter data,

c) intelligent systems and networks that
analyze and manage data,

d) the cloud with IoT systems analysis
and instant feedback, resulting in
increased efficiency and reduced costs.
Why is this a big thing? Because experts estimate some 50 billion IoT devices and
many trillions of US dollars in increased revenue and reduced cost within the next ten years.
And where does the Rugged Tablet GT78 fit in as a "handheld IoT device?" Both as a mobile
sensor device and as an IoT gateway.
As a sensor device, the Rugged Tablet GT78 uses its various data sensing and collection
systems. Those include, on the data sensing side, an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer,
a 3-axis digital gyroscope, a barometer, and a digital compass. On the data collection side, the
Rugged Tablet GT78 employs an RFID/NFC reader (peer-to-peer, tag reader/writer, and card
emulation modes are available), an industrial-grade 1D/2D imager, as well as an 12.6mp
auto-focus documentation camera (in addition to
a 2mp frontal vidcam).
As a IoT gateway device, the Rugged Tablet
GT78 can aggregate its polled and collected data,
filter it, do desired local processing, and then
pass it on to higher level gateways and networks
either via Bluetooth, WiFi or mobile broadband.
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Once the higher level intelligent systems and/or cloud-based big data and IoT apps have done
their processing, the Rugged Tablet GT78 may then receive real-time feedback for human or
machine action.
In order to reliably fill its role as both a mobile sensor and gateway device, the Gladius must be
tough enough to hold up to whatever conditions it may encounter in the field. To that end, the
device carries IP65 sealing where the "6" stands for it being completely dustproof, and the "5"
for the ability to handle low-pressure water jets from all directions. The Gladius can also
handle 4-foot drops and operating temperatures between 14 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
AMobile claims additional MIL-STD-810G testing, but we haven't seen a complete list yet. The
display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Compact consumer tablet size, but much tougher
How big should an IoT handheld be? That depends entirely on the application. While the
smaller IoT Handheld Device G55 looks like a modern smartphone and is the form factor of
choice when space is at an absolute premium, the Rugged Tablet GT78 is more in the iPad
mini 3 category. Both are handhelds, but sizewise the IoT Handheld Device G55 is in the
smartphone class whereas the Rugged Tablet GT78 is a small tablet.
The picture to the
right shows where
the Rugged Tablet
GT78 fits in terms
of size. The lineup
shows — from left
to right and in
scale — Apple's
iPhone 6 Plus, the
Google Nexus 7,
the AMobile
Rugged Tablet
GT78, and finally the Apple iPad Air 2.
The Rugged Tablet GT78 measures 8.6 x 5.7 inches, versus the iPad mini 3's 7.9 x 5.3. Its
8.75 inch diagonal screen size is virtually same as that of the iPad mini 3 (7.9 inches), and with
its 4:3 aspect ratio display it is visually almost dwarfing 7-inch tablets that mostly come with
narrow aspect ratio screens.
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Screen size, though, is only one part of the overall package. As a ruggedized device, the
Rugged Tablet GT78 is 0.78 inches thick, and weighs 1.35 pounds. That's quite a bit thicker
and heavier than today's consumer tablets. The iPad mini 3 is sliver-thin at 3/10th of an inch
and weighs barely more than half as much as the Rugged Tablet GT78. The picture above
shows how the Rugged Tablet GT78 compares in thickness to the Apple iPad mini 3.
So while the Rugged Tablet GT78 looks just like a compact consumer tablet from the front, it's
in fact a completely different device, one that's much tougher and offers much more
functionality. And while some consumer phone makers now offer versions of their phones that
look largely the same as their standard issue models but are better able to withstand abuse
and the elements, there aren't (m)any weather-protected compact consumer tablets, and even
the few more durable devices are still far less rigid and durable than the Rugged Tablet GT78.
IoT device technology
Customers interested in a rugged compact tablet such as the Rugged Tablet GT78 likely
intend on using it in a variety of potential capacities, ranging from general-purpose rugged
tablet computer, to dedicated IoT edge device, to data capture tool, to simply a super-size
version of a modern smartphone. What sort of specs and technologies did AMobile provide to
help the Rugged Tablet GT78 address all these requirements?
Powering everything under the hood of the Rugged Tablet
GT78 is, just like in the smaller IoT Handheld Device G55, a
ARM Cortex A7 processor from MediaTek. However,
whereas the G55 uses the 1.0GHz MTK6589 designed for
smartphones, the Rugged Tablet GT78 is based on the tablet-oriented MTK8382 running at a
quicker 1.3GHz clock speed. Both are quad-core designs built on contemporary 28nm process
technology, but whereas the MTK6589 uses a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processor for
parallel graphics acceleration, the MTK8382 hands that duty to an ARM Mali GPU.
There's a gigabyte of RAM and 8GB of Flash for storage. While 8GB doesn't look like much
compared to the 16/64/128GB available in current iPads, it's more than adequate if the device
can use expansion cards. So for the Rugged Tablet GT78 it's the 8GB and what is in its
user-accessible micro SDHC card slot accessible from the right side of the tablet.
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There is an
12.6mp
documentation
autofocus
camera with
LED flash on
the backside.
Customers
may also opt
for an
additional 2mp
vidcam in the
front, but it's either that camera or an integrated scanner but not both. As for the
documentation camera's impressive imager size, the megapixel count is being pushed by
some consumer smartphone and tablet manufacturers to differentiate themselves, and we
certainly welcome that trend. Apple, though, stayed with 8mp in its iPad Air 2 and just 5mp in
the iPad mini 3, so AMobile is ahead of the game compared to most.
The Rugged Tablet GT78 has a user-accessible and easily removable 22.9 watt-hour Li-Ion
battery. That's just a tad less capacity than the iPad mini 3's 23.8 watt-hour, and AMobile 's
estimate of "up to 10 hours" of battery life between charges is the same as Apple claims.
Charging is via a standard micro-USB port. Wireless charging is available via optional docks
(see Qi wiki). Very cool.
Despite Apple's use of it in its small iPad, 8-inch displays with the wide 4:3 aspect ratio are
relatively rare in tablets. Most small tablets have been using 16:9 aspect ratio 7-inch screens,
with large-size smartphones now increasingly eating into that market. The 4:3 8-inch form
factor does offer substantially more display real estate than 16:9 7-inch screens, and for that
reason alone many users prefer the larger format for more demanding types of work. That the
Rugged Tablet GT78 uses the smartphone-pioneered projected capacitive ("procap")
multi-touch technology rather than a resistive digitizer is pretty much a given, considering that
procap is clearly the popular choice these days, and also that Android was designed for it.
All modern smartphones and tablets have sensors, and their presence is especially important
in a device that's also designed for IoT duty. As a result, AMobile equipped the Rugged Tablet
GT78 with a proximity sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis magnetic field, a barometer,
and an ambient light sensor to adjust backlight intensity.
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Wired connectivity is via micro-USB 2.0. For wireless connectivity there is integrated Class 2
Bluetooth 4.0LE + EDR, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, NFC, both A-GPS and dedicated GPS, and mobile
broadband of the WCDMA UMTS variety.
The image below shows the Rugged Tablet GT78 from the front and from all four sides. It's an
elegant design that combines the all-black glossy look of a modern consumer tablet with the
protective rubber-cladding, meticulous sealing, and space for industrial grade expansion like a
vertical market device.
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Going around the Rugged Tablet GT78 reveals a number of controls but not much in terms of
ports. This is a well-sealed device, and that means the fewer openings that must be protected
against immersion the better.
The left side has a programmable button that can be used to trigger the scanner. On the right
side are a volume up/down rocker and, underneath a clip-on cover, the tablet's protected SIM
and MicroSD card slots. On top are, beneath protective hinged rubber plugs and flanking the
industrial-grade 1D/2D imager window, the unit's earphone jack and micro-HDMI port on one
side and its micro-USB port and power button on the other. The bottom does not contain any
controls or ports, but provides access to the tablet's battery.
The front of the Rugged Tablet GT78 is dominated by the large display whose surface glass
extends well beyond the perimeter of the LCD, a characteristic common to virtually all
capacitive touch devices, so that fingers do not bump into a border during touch. The
protective rubber cladding of the Rugged Tablet GT78 does make for a protruding border
around the perimeter of the device, but it's far enough away from the extent of the LCD to not
get in the way, and it only sticks up by roughly a millimeter.
Beneath the display are three Android controls (Menu, Home, Back), implemented here as
capacitive touch areas with icons outlined in white and illuminated from the inside when the
Gladius is in use. That's a bit different from
the currently standard trio of Android
buttons, those being Multitask, Home, and
Back. The "Menu" Android button officially
vanished with version 4.0, but apparently
AMobile considered "Menu" more important
than "Multitask."
What's inside the Rugged
Tablet GT78?
When it comes to design and construction,
consumer tablets are facing two big
problems these days. First, there's only so
much design you can do on a product that
primarily consists of a large rectangular
piece of glass. Second, since consumer
tablets must be fashionably thin, much of
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the effort inside goes into miniaturizing components.
Designers of industrial tablets have a bit more design freedom as those remain very much
tools for the job. Compact size and low weight are still important, but they usually aren't deal
breakers. The Rugged Tablet GT78 is a good example of that. At first sight it looks just like
another sleek consumer tablet. But look closer and it quickly becomes obvious that it's an
entirely different kind of product. Let's find out how different.
The picture to the right shows the backside of the Rugged Tablet GT78. On the upper left is
the camera and flash window, on the upper right a red plastic lens for use with optional/custom
IR port. The top and bottom areas have a rubberized feel, the center area doesn't. The
perforated band near the bottom looks like just a design feature, but it actually includes the
grilles for the tablet's stereo speakers.
The vertical bars to the left and right of the center area are actually snap-on plastic pieces. On
the left side they cover the GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and mobile broadband antennae. On the
right side the SIM card and microSD card slots. Like the IoT Handheld Device G55, the
Rugged Tablet GT78 has dual SIM card slots, allowing for two separate mobile
connections/accounts.
The tablet's flat, rectangular 3.8V 6,200mAH (23.6 watt-hour) Li-Ion battery is replaceable and
user-accessible. To get to it, there's first a small cover with two screws at the bottom of the unit
to remove, and then there's prying out another piece of plastic that seals the battery
compartment. The battery can then be shaken out. It's not the simplest or most intuitive
arrangement, but what matters is that the battery is replaceable.
As stated, while from the front the Rugged Tablet GT78 looks like your standard consumer
tablet, it is a significantly more substantial unit. Opening it requires undoing a number of small
Philips screws, then a good degree of careful prying apart of the two halves. There are no
wires or ribbon cables between the two halves. Instead, connections are made via
springloaded pins (for the NFC and WPC antennae).
The two halves are sealed against each other with an intricate tongue-and-groove design,
where the groove additionally contains a very thin replaceable O-ring. The O-ring has eight
little tabs so that it can be properly placed.
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The pictures below shows what it looks like inside the Rugged Tablet GT78:
As for the material of the two halves, in general, the "plastic" used in rugged mobile computing
devices is PC+ABS, which is a polycarbonate and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) alloy
that combines the strength of polycarbonates with the high abuse resistance of ABS, but at a
lower cost. AMobile, on the other hand, chose PC+TPU, an alloy of polycarbonate and TPU
(thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer), with TPU excelling at abrasion and wear resistance,
high tensile and tear strengths, as well as having rubberlike elasticity. The Rugged Tablet
GT78's "plastic" parts do indeed have those properties, combining toughness, flexibility, and a
rubber-feeling exterior for impact protection and a good
grip.
Stability and rigidity is provided by a magnesium chassis
that on one side has a corral for the battery and next to it
the motherboard, and on the other side the display and
digitizer. The entire system is nicely integrated, with most
electronic components located underneath metal
shielding.
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The scanner in our eval unit was a Opticon MDI-3100, a speedy fixed-focus 2D CMOS imager
with a maximum decode speed of 60 frames per second (see MDI-3100 page here). It uses
LEDs for barcode targeting so there is no need for lasers and their associated regulations.
The image compilations below shows some of the interesting details of the AMobile Rugged
Tablet GT78. On the left you can see a close-up of the intricate camera module, in the center a
close-up of the SIM and microSD card slots, and on the right a look at the thin rubber O-ring
sitting in its groove. Note the small removal tab that makes it easy to handle and place the
ever-important seal.
Below on the left is a look at the two friction cover plugs for the SIM and microSD slots. They
are not hinged and thus somewhat easy to lose. In the center one of the two remarkably
powerful speakers, and on the right you can see the imager firmly secured onto the
motherboard.
The insides of the Rugged Tablet GT78 leave a very good impression. This is a well conceived
and executed design that's very stable. The one concern we have is the number of small
snap-on and clip-on parts that can get damaged or lost. Particularly impressive is the elegant,
functional magnesium frame with its custom-designed main and subsidiary boards that
together form a compact, logical and very clean solution.
Display — 7.85-inch and procap multi-touch
The Rugged Tablet GT78's 7.85-inch display is somewhere between a large smartphone and a
full-size tablet. While the Gladius can be used as an internet phone via Skype or a dedicated
internet voice service, this is very clearly a tablet and not a large phone.
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The screen's 1024 x 768 pixel XGA resolution is perhaps a bit puzzling in an era where much
smaller smartphones routinely offer 1920 x 1080 pixel displays, and some even full 4k. Even
the smaller IoT Handheld Device G55 offers more pixels (1280 x 720) on its 5.5 inch screen.
So why did AMobile use comparatively low 1024 x 768 resolution in the Rugged Tablet GT78,
the same as has been used in rugged tablets for a decade or more?
To put things in perspective, 1024 x 768 is the same resolution of the original iPad and the
iPad 2. Tens of millions of those were sold, and I can't recall many complaints about the Pad's
screen resolution, even though its display measured 9.7 inches versus the Rugged Tablet
GT78's 7.85. We're talking about 163 dpi (dots per inch) here, which is the same as that of the
original iPhone and the initial iPad mini. It's also better than any non-retina MacBook Pro and
Air laptops, and better than the 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab. And it's vastly sharper than
the iMac27 screen that I am writing this review on.
Would it be nice to have full 1080p? It would, but it's really not necessary for the work the
Rugged Tablet GT78 is intended for. For now, it's really more of a matter of smartphone
resolutions getting insanely high in a heated one-upmanship between manufacturers. Further,
dpi is not all that matters. Viewing angle is often as important or more. And here the Rugged
Tablet GT78 shines with a perfect viewing angle from all directions, with no color shifts
whatsoever.
The picture below shows the Rugged Tablet GT78 on a cloudy Tennessee morning with the
brightness control set to automatic. The unretourched image clearly shows how bright and
vibrant the display is.
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Capacitive multi-touch works as everyone expects from a handheld these days — quickly and
effortlessly. The touch controller AMobile used is more sensitive than that in most earlier
capacitive touch devices. That means it can work when wearing certain types of thin gloves.
The device doesn't come with a stylus and AMobile doesn't offer an optional capacitive pen.
Any 3rd party capacitive pen will work, though those generic pens with their broad tips don't
offer much more accuracy than the tip of a finger. It's not that important anyway as Android
was specifically developed for capacitive multi-touch with a finger.
Android versus Windows
Our review Rugged Tablet GT78 ran Android 4.4.2, and unlike a number of recently introduced
industrial handhelds, there's no corresponding Windows based version. Why?
For the IoT Handheld Device G55, that question was easily answered. It was because the vast
majority of non-Apple smartphones run Android, and even compared to Apple, Android has a
commanding market share. As a result, many providers of ruggedized handhelds now offer
both Microsoft and Android based versions of their handhelds or are leaning towards Android.
On the tablet side, things are a bit different. While Apple and Android also hold a commanding
marketshare, for one reason or another many rugged and vertical market tablets are
Windows-based. It may be that enterprise Microsoft shops wish to leverage their Windows
investment to tablets rather than supporting another software platform, or it may be that
complex industry-specific software is only available on Windows. Almost all providers of
rugged tablet hardware have realized that, and are offering both Windows and Android tablets.
Given Android's massive market share, it's quite obvious that Android-based work devices will
have instant appeal and familiarity to those who are already using Android smartphones
and/or tablets at home or at work. Though often customized by voice and data service
providers, the basic workings of the Android interface are very widely known by now, and a
very large number of apps are available for download. Android software development and
expertise is commonly available, and making Android devices available on the job can save
training as well as deployment costs.
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Additional Android contemplations
The total number of available apps for a handheld software platform has become a crucially
important marketing issue, as is how easily users
can download apps. Apple has its slick and massive
App Store. Android offers the official Google Play
store, as well as third party alternates such as the
Amazon Appstore for Android, Slide ME, and
several others.
There is, however, an important difference between
consumer and industrial markets here. Whereas a
vast number of easily accessible apps is a big plus
for consumers, many industrial and enterprise
deployers do not want their workforce download
(and distracted by) apps into devices used for work.
What are the answers to this potential problem?
One approach is to use Android AOSP, which stands for Android Open Source Project, and is
an open-source software stack and project, led by Google itself, but without the ability to use
the Google Play store and some of the major Google apps. Android AOSP, however, still has
access to alternate app stores.
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Another possibility is using something like 42Gears.com's SureLock. SureLock replaces the
Android desktop and allows control of applications that are available to users. It can even be
configured to run in "kiosk mode" with just a single application that is always active. This way,
systems integrators or IT personnel can configure units for specific use and applications,
eliminating the temptation that comes with a full load of consumer apps.
The Rugged Tablet GT78 sample unit AMobile sent us for evaluation came not only with a
basic selection of useful apps, but also with the official Google Play store. Google does make it
possible to customize the look and feel of an Android device, and organizations can publish
their own Android apps or officially sanctioned apps privately to a dedicated company-owned
channel on Google Play.
A wealth of applications
Among the main attractions of Android tablets is the vast number of apps that area readily
available for download. While highly specialized applications may require custom software
development, chances are that a free or inexpensive app can be found for almost everything
else. Below are a number of screen shots of apps that were installed on our review Rugged
Tablet GT78 tablet, and that we downloaded from Google Play.
The first series of three screen snaps shows the main Android app screen on the left, a search
screen from the Google Play store showing transportation-related apps in the center, and on
the right an example screen from a shipping app. One of Android's strong points is that there
are tens of thousands of potentially very useful apps.
There are several office suites available for Android, but many enterprise and business users
will want Microsoft Office. An Office 365 client is available for Android, and since November
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2014 it no longer requires a paid Office 365 subscription to edit documents and store them in
the cloud. Office Mobile is not a complete implementation of the full Office 365, but it works just
fine.
Below are examples of Microsoft Word (left) and Microsoft Excel (center) files we tried on the
Rugged Tablet GT78. We encountered no problems. Most users should be able to load and
work on even complex files when using a Rugged Tablet GT78 on the road. On the right a bit
of doodling on Microsoft OneNote.
Next on the list of downloads might be the ever-amazing Google Earth for mapping, satellite
imagery, mapping with traffic information, or Street View. The large size and full XGA
resolution of the Rugged Tablet GT78 display makes mapping and GIS a natural for the device,
and there's a large number of GPS apps that show satellite and location data (we used GPS
Test).
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Web browsing can be somewhat frustrating on small handhelds, but the Rugged Tablet GT78
screen is large enough, most of time web pages can load in their full versions (as opposed to
the often unsatisfying "mobile" versions), and there's enough resolution, and processing power
for a productive browsing experience. The screen snap on the right shows a file listing from
Microsoft OneDrive, the cloud-based storage system we wouldn't leave home without.
Out there in the field there's often a need to take a couple of notes and perhaps do a quick
sketch. And a toolbox of utilities comes in handy. As examples, we downloaded the electronic
equivalent of a little yellow notepad (left), the INKredible calligraphy app, and a unit converter
(we used Max Converter). Thousands of such utilities are available from the Google Play
store.
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Below, as another example of a dedicated app that can be quite useful, are screen snaps of
Mobile Developed's OBD Car Doctor Pro that can read dozens of parameters from a vehicular
engine control unit computer in real time, diagnose problems, clear error codes, etc. All for
$2.99 plus an OBD-II Bluetooth adapter (inexpensively available on eBay).
The above serves as just a small sample of the numerous everyday informational and
productivity tasks the Rugged Tablet GT78 tablet can be used for. Many thousands of other
apps are available, on top of whatever custom or professional software users may wish to
install.
Very good cameras
The AMobile Rugged Tablet GT78 has both a front and a rear camera, as one would expect
from a modern tablet. The front one is for video calls and such, and offers 2 megapixel
resolution. The rear one is for picture taking and documentation. The specs claimed an 16
megapixel imager, but the pictures we took came out in 4,096 x 3,072 pixel resolution, which is
12 megapixel. Camera settings allow selecting resolutions from just QVGA all the way up to
12mp. Both cameras can be used for stills as well as for video.
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By and large, with few exceptions our experience with cameras integrated into rugged vertical
market handhelds and tablets has been underwhelming over the years, with even the best
ones lagging behind what's available in dedicated point & shoots and consumer
smartphones. This is starting to change now,
possibly through the very wide distribution of
Android-based smartphones equipped with good
cameras. Whatever the reason, the rear-facing
documentation camera of the Rugged Tablet GT78
is quite good. The test pictures we took with the
device were absolutely good enough for most
documentation tasks.
The screen snap to the right shows some of the
camera settings screens, and what it looks like in
picture-taking mode.
The user interface is quite elaborate, with 14 scene
settings, 7 color effects, 8 white balance settings,
+/-3EV exposure control, face detection, 2/10 second self timer, 40 or 99 continuous shots,
picture sizes from VGA all the way up to 8mp, ISO settings from 100 to 1600 and auto, HDR
capturing, panorama shooting, and more. When using the front camera, the focus can follow
your face automatically, which comes in handy if you move around a lot.
Users can edit pictures right on the Rugged Tablet GT78. There is a wealth of functions
available, including color effects, frames, cropping, straightening, mirroring, numerous filters,
and even such advanced operations as sharpening, hue, vibrance and curves. The camera
app also supports social media. You can directly send images to Picasa, Messaging, email,
Skype, OneDrive or whatever other social media apps you have on the device. And images
can also be converted to PDF.
In video mode, there is a special meeting recording setting for audio recording, and the
microphone can be turned on and off. There is also time lapse video with a picture taken shot
every one to 10 seconds, and users can set video quality. We got video to record in resolutions
ranging from 640 x 480 VGA all the way up to full 1080p 1920 x 1080. Video quality was quite
good, frame rates as well, and the LED illuminator was strong enough to be of real life use.
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Having all those many settings and features available will be important to some users, but
what's most impressive about the Gladius camera apart is its speed and quality. It is well
suitable to document jobs both in stills and in video.
The pictures below were shot with the AMobile Rugged Tablet GT78 in 12mp mode. Click on
the image to bring up a full-size version.
The Rugged Tablet GT78 documentation camera is capable of taking much better pictures
than we generally see from industrial tablets. There is very good sharpness and image detail,
and little of the massive compression that often renders pictures from such integrated cameras
useless.
Video is also significantly better than what we've come to expect from cameras integrated into
rugged devices. Frame rate and focussing are quick and the camera doesn't fall behind. The
maximum 1920 x 1080 recording format is very useful, and, of course, pretty much expected
by today's users.
Note that the camera applications that come with mobile operating systems are often replaced
with third party applications optimized for certain tasks, or developers and systems integrators
include camera and video functionality directly into custom applications.
In summary, the still image and video functions of the Rugged Tablet GT78 are entirely good
enough for virtually any documentation jobs.
Vehicle and desktop docks with wireless charging
Unlike consumer tablets where customers may want/need nothing more than a protective case,
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enterprise market device such as the Rugged Tablet GT78 need mounting and docking
options.
For that, AMobile offers both an in-vehicle docking mount as well as a desktop cradle. Both
use the same snap-in tablet holder that then locks on to either a suction cup vehicle mount, or
a rotating desk stand. Neither is a port replicator. The vehicle dock comes with a power plug
charger, the desktop stand with a standard power brick charger.
Both optional docks provide Qi-based wireless charging technology, which means there is no
power cable to be inserted or removed from the Gladius tablet. The docks also have standard
VESA 4 x 75 mm hole patterns and have therefore access to the whole catalog of RAM
Mount mounting hardware (see examples of RAM VESA mount options).
Tough enough for rough jobs out there
Rugged tablets used to look like tanks, and weigh nearly as much. Not anymore. Despite its
elegant consumer tablet appearance, the Rugged Tablet GT78's environmental specs are
decidedly rugged, and an examination of its internal design and structure revealed that the
tablet can back it up. This is a compact tablet that's much tougher than it looks.
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To protect itself from the elements, the Rugged Tablet GT78 carries IP65 sealing where the
"6" means it's totally dustproof, and the "5" that it is also sealed against, according to the IP
classification system chart, low pressure water jets from all directions. That's far better sealing
that standard consumer tablets have. Consumer smartphones, though, are now available in
IP67- and even IP68-sealed versions, raising expectations. It's more difficult to seal larger
devices than smaller ones, but the day can't be far when IP67 is considered must-have. It's not
totally necessary, but knowing that one's tool could survive an inadvertent drop into a puddle
or even shallow stream would offer additional peace of mind.
The Rugged Tablet GT78 can also handle drops from four feet. That's a foot less than the
smaller IoT Handheld Device G55 can handle but, again, it's more difficult to cushion larger
and heavier devices. Tablets, of course, are usually dropped when operating them in a
standing position, and such falls are not more than about four feet.
The stated operating temperature range of 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 to 50 degrees
Celsius) is wide enough to allow the device to be used almost anywhere.
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The display uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that provides even more protection against breakage
and scratching than the first two generations. That's especially important in large-screen
handhelds such as the Rugged Tablet GT78.
The impressive strength provided by the internal magnesium frame suggests a high degree of
toughness and ability to withstand accidents and abuse. AMobile's literature mentions
MIL-STD-810G certification, but does not say which MIL-STD-810G or similar tests,
specifically, have been performed. Vibration, for example, can be a big issue if a device rattles
around in a vehicle or if it's mounted on something that vibrates a lot. Users may also want to
know its ability to handle tumbles, altitude, shock, and other punishment that may well be an
issue in some of the more demanding IoT or even mPOS applications..
We're quite confident that the AMobile Rugged Tablet GT78 will hold up well in the field and
under tough conditions. Its structure and design are first class, its sealing is exemplary, and
Gorilla Glass protects the display, but we'd still like to see more official test results. And it'd be
nice to see fewer loose plugs and clip-on pieces.
Summary: AMobile Rugged Tablet GT78 — a compact, rugged
Android tablet for IoT and numerous other professional
applications
With the IoT Handheld Device G55 and Rugged Tablet GT78, AMobile Technologies offers two
elegant, rugged Android-based handheld computing devices for IoT (Internet of Things) and
numerous other applications. While the IoT Handheld Device G55 uses the smartphone form
factor, the larger Rugged Tablet GT78 is a compact tablet that's a bit larger than an Apple iPad
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Whitepaper
mini, but a lot tougher and more durable.
The Rugged Tablet GT78 can be used for a vast variety of applications. Its scanning and NFC
capabilities make it a powerful data collection and mobile point of sale device. Its inherent
ruggedness make it suitable for any number of field service, transportation and public safety
deployments. It can easily be mounted in vehicles with its special V-Dock that even includes
wireless charging. And its elegant looks and full modern tablet capabilities make it perfect for
numerous enterprise and business uses.
Sporting a large, bright 7.85-inch capacitive multi-touch display means there's significantly
more screen real estate than in any smartphone and also considerably more than in 7-inch
tablets. The 1024 x 768 XGA resolution is crips and sharp on this size display, and numerous
legacy professional software applications use this format.
The replaceable battery lasts a full shift and more. There's an industrial-grade 2D CMOS
imager, a very good 12-megapixel documentation camera. The Rugged Tablet GT78 survives
4-foot drops, can operate in icy cold and blistering heat, and its IP65 sealing means it doesn't
mind dust or rain.
With the Android-powered Rugged Tablet GT78, AMobile provides an elegant-but-rugged
compact tablet entirely suitable for emerging Internet of Things projects, but also as a
technologically advanced multi-purpose handheld computer for numerous warehousing,
transportation, healthcare, mPOS and general industrial and enterprise deployments. And for
a rugged tablet in this class, its starting price is remarkably affordable. -- Conrad H.
Blickenstorfer, July 2015
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