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Here's a tablet that could be good medicine for solution providers seeking a versatile development platform. Motorola Solutions in October unveiled the ET1 Enterprise Tablet, a rugged, Android-based appliance designed to help improve workforce productivity in healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and any industry that can benefit from custom applications running on a durable mobile device.
At the heart of the ET1 is a dual-core application and graphics processor running Android 2.3.4 at 1GHz, along with 1 GB of system RAM and a total of 8 GB of memory for application storage (implemented as 4-GB flash plus a 4-GB microSD card). A Micro SDHD card slot permits a maximum of 32 GB to be added for application and data storage. Also on board are an HDMI output port and two USB 2.0 interfaces: one "On-the-Go" port for hosting flash drives, input peripherals and docking, and another for serving the expansion module port. Ports are covered by rubber grommets that swivel out of the way but remain attached to the ET1's body; the ET1 carries a rating for ingress protection of IP54, the equivalent of a three on the six-point NEMA scale.
An 8MP rear auto-focus camera is designed for 1D and 2D barcode scanning and image capture, and it operates by using the Android camera app or touching either index finger on dedicated rear buttons (for scanning). The camera also is equipped with a user-controllable LED flash, up to 8x zoom, ambient backlight sensor and 720p video capture capability. However, it won't take pictures without an SD card installed. There's a front camera too (640x480), plus front and rear microphones and stereo speakers.
The 7-inch display puts out 1,024 x 600 pixels (less than the resolution of its rear camera). While its resolution might seem meager compared with consumer tablets, it's perfectly adequate for an appliance of this type, which after all is not intended for watching repeats of your favorite TV shows. Tucked safely behind Corning Gorilla Glass, the capacitive multitouch screen is bright at 350 NITs, its icon display is crisp and its movements are responsive. With smooth, wide grips on either side, the ET1 is comfortable to hold with both hands.
Android's familiar controls for Back, Home and Menu are along the lower edge and within easy reach of the right-hand thumb; three programmable function keys are in opposite positions along the left. At 1.5 pounds, the ET1 is fairly heavy and a bit awkward to hold with one hand, particularly for long periods. The padded leather wrist strap that bolts onto the back is optional, but should be standard. The power connector also is somewhat unconventional. Its proprietary connector appears quite durable and can provide power and data connections from a PC's USB port. A standard power brick also is included for charging without a PC. Kludgy but sturdy, the DC end connects to a breakout box near the USB end of the cable.