Juniper System Updates Archer Rugged Device With Integrated GPS, Longer Battery Life

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Known for its rugged handheld computers, Juniper Systems released details Tuesday on its newest device, the Archer 2, a computer created to be put to the test.

The Logan, Utah-based rugged device manufacturer has been creating handheld computers made to weather harsh conditions and reselling them through its OEM and VAR channel since 1993.

Electronic Data Solutions, a Jerome, Idaho-based VAR, specializes in the timber, forestry and land management industries. Steve Combe, Juniper Systems product specialist at Electronic Data Solutions, said there are a number of major improvements seen on the Archer 2 that were missing on the original Archer device.

[Related: Extreme Tech 10: Hot Rugged Tech Devices To Go Off The Grid]

"We were excited to see an integrated 5MP camera on the Archer 2," Combe said. Digital imagery, he said, is a crucial component for his company's customers in the field. The ability to snap a picture and immediately describe the attributes of the subject of the photo and store it in a database, Combe said, is a huge improvement.

The Archer 2 also has an integrated GPS, a feature Combe said was missing on the original Archer.

"Customers had to rely on third parties to provide a GPS that would plug in to the Archer through an adapter," Combe said.

Electronic Data Systems will load the rugged device with custom software designed to take advantage of the GPS. For example, a customer spraying mosquito districts will use the Archer 2 paired with the custom software to locate what areas need to be sprayed, plot points on a map, and set equipment to automatically turn off around places with asthma issues or organic gardens.

Josh Egan, product manager at Juniper Systems, said the integrated "GPS chipset is valued because of its performance in heavy canopy areas. This GPS blows the doors off of [Juniper Systems'] previous products as well as competing products."

According to Egan, two of the most attractive improvements are the display and the battery life.

"The first thing that pops out is the display. Not only is it bigger than the previous [Archer model], but it's much brighter than any product we've made in the past," Egan said.

The 4.3-inch display is a high-visibility, capacitive touchscreen with a glove-friendly numeric keypad. According to Combe, the keypad was a much-needed addition because 90 percent of the data Electronic Data Solutions' customers are entering is numeric.

In regards to improved battery life, Juniper Systems claims the device will last over 20 hours on a single charge and is modeled after the batteries used in electric cars.

"Our customers work long hours, and they need plenty of power. We loaded this up not only so the device would run longer, but we gave it more power to run more sensors and other devices connected to the Archer," Egan said.

Over 90 percent of Juniper Systems' rugged device sales are pushed through its OEM and VAR partners. Resellers are able to either leverage the Juniper Systems brand or re-brand the product for themselves. The Archer 2 will also come with a two-year warranty, an improvement over its predecessor's one-year policy.


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