Tech Watch


Toughbook; USB drive; wearable computer; 6U rack; process-management software; widescreen display


Toughbooks Earn Their Stripes
Panasonic's latest ruggedized toughbook brings both brawn and brains to the mobile worker. The new Toughbook CF-30, powered by an Intel Core Duo processor, has an industry-leading 1,000-nit display brightness--twice the level of most rugged notebooks. The 8-pound Toughbook includes durability features such as a magnesium alloy casing, shock-mounted screen and hard drive, and protective sealing. The CF-30 also features 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as optional integrated radio modems to access UMTS/HSDPA-based solutions from Cingular Wireless and the EV-DO networks of Sprint and Verizon.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-30, Price: $4,700

USB Drive Pricier But Safer
USB-based flash drives are arguably the best form of portable media since the now-obsolete floppy disk. But for many users, the security risks they present can be an organization's worst nightmare. For those who like the benefits of a drive that can fit on a keychain, but are skittish about vulnerabilities, the best bet is a new breed of device with built-in security. Kingston's new DataTraveler Secure series is one option. Available with up to 4 GB of storage, these USB drives support password protection. They also encrypt data stored in the so-called "privacy zone" of the drive using embedded software called MyDataZone. Kingston will release an enterprise version with advanced encryption in January. The drives, which include software to help users manage content and set preferences, including file synchronization, come with titanium-coated stainless-steel casings that are waterproof and can withstand harsh operating conditions, according to Kingston.

Kingston DataTraveler Secure, Price: $33 to $244 (512-MB to 4-GB)

Symbol Revs Up One Durable Little Computer
Symbol Technologies has rolled out a new wearable computer and scanner aimed at warehouses and distribution centers that use hands-free devices for order picking, package sorting, receiving, replenishment, loading, maintenance and repair. The WT4000 can be worn on the wrist or on the hip, and it lets users move freely while scanning data, accessing information and performing data entry. The WT4000 series also features optional headset support for voice picking. Not only ergonomic and versatile, the Symbol WT4000 is rugged too. It can withstand 4-foot drops to concrete, and comes sealed and ready to withstand dusty warehouses, frigid freezers and sweltering storage areas. Other options include the new RS309 and RS409 wearable scanners, which deliver high-performance scanning and accurate reading of both poorly printed and damaged bar codes.

Symbol WT4000, Price: $2,800

Power To The 6U Rack
Eaton is addressing the growing need for distributed power in server racks with its new Powerware 9140. The 9140 can produce up to 10 KVA of protection in 6U of rack space, which includes internal batteries. The company says one technician working alone can install or repair the UPS without interrupting power to the data center. The UPS is based on hot-swappable batteries that can provide up to 45 minutes of runtime on a full load.

Eaton Powerware 9140, Price: $5,999

Patching Up Process Management
Software distribution and patch management are key issues for midsize and large enterprises. LANDesk, a leading supplier of software that manages the process of software distribution, patch and system-image management, has upgraded its LANDesk Process Manager by integrating its Management Suite, Security Suite and recently launched Service Desk platform. LANDesk Process Manager 3.0 includes new process templates that help customers design and follow processes for software distribution and for OS, configuration and patch management. The software also has new modules to support change management, such as a large-scale rollout of Windows. The new release supports smartphones--BlackBerrys and Palm Treos--and offers reporting to help meet both compliance and audit requirements.

LANDesk Process Manager 3.0, Price: $35,000 for companies with up to 1,000 employees, $190,000 for up to 10,000 employees

NEC Goes Wide
NEC Display Solutions this month is shipping a new 37-inch widescreen monitor aimed at digital-signage applications. The MultiSync LCD3735WXM display has an ATSC high-definition TV tuner and VGA, DVI and HDCP video connectivity, as well as S-video, component and composite video inputs for multiple audio-visual peripherals. The LCD displays images with a 16-to-9 aspect ratio, a 9-millisecond response time, a contrast ratio of 1,600-to-1 and native resolution of 1,366-x-768 pixels. The new product is designed for ceiling or wall mounting and has detachable speakers that attach to the sides of the display, or to the bottom.

NEC MultiSync LCD3735WXM, Price: $2,300