Motorola Rugged Handheld Gets 3G Makeover


The rugged MC75, which stems from Motorola's acquisition of Symbol Technologies, is a full-featured wireless WAN, wireless LAN and wireless PAN device that follows in the line of Motorola's 2006 release of the MC70. Brian Viscount, Motorola's vice president of product marketing, mobile computing, said the MC75 offers HSDPA 3.6 and EVDO Rev A wireless connectivity for access to next-generation applications.

Viscount said the MC75 also delivers simultaneous access to voice, data, GPS navigation for location-based services and camera-based capture through a 2-megapixel auto-focus camera to capture documents, signatures and bar codes. Along with 3G HSDPA and CDMA-EVDO Rev A support, the MC75 is equipped with 802.11 a/b/g wireless connectivity and a color VGA display.

Viscount said the device can help companies improve workforce automation, reduce data errors and enable productivity.

Viscount estimated that between 2006 and 2007, there was a 54 percent growth in WAN-based applications, cementing the need for EDAs that offer WAN access.

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"WAN demand is up," he said. "There is also a growing trend in the usage of voice-based applications, and voice and data convergence is up. Additionally, there is now a demand for image capture and bar-code data capture."

For the channel, the MC75 offers partners a common platform and enables them to support applications across a broader product portfolio. VARs can support mixed device deployments. For software developers, it gives them new reach and enables them to develop on a common architecture.

"This is the perfect evolution from the MC70," said Savino Griesi, CEO of Allegro Mobile Solutions, an Ontario-based solution provider. "It's the embodiment of what my customers are asking for."

Griesi said the addition of a VGA screen and the camera will make the MC75 a relatively easy sell to any company with workers in the field. Because it's an evolution of an existing product instead of a brand-new line, it'll be easier to get customers on board, he added.

"It's a big advancement, but it's not very scary," he said.

The addition of other functions, like GPS and the ability to access applications over 3G, can open a "new world" to customers, Griesi said.

While the MC75 is a more grown-up version of the MC70, which has sold nearly a half-million devices since its 2006 introduction, Viscount said the MC70 will stay in the market, though it does not have a high-resolution camera and does not offer simultaneous access to voice and data. With the introduction of the MC75, however, Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola will lower the price of the MC70 by 15 percent to 20 percent. The MC75 is backward-compatible with the MC70, Viscount said. Companies can continue deploying the MC70 or start a migration path to the MC75.

The rugged device is based on Intel's XScale PXA270 624MHz processor and runs Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 mobile operating system to interoperate with existing infrastructure, security features, the development platform and mobile messaging. The MC75 gets the rugged seal of approval by being able to withstand repeated four-foot drops to concrete.

In addition, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Services offers service from the startfor the MC75, meaning from the day of purchase repair is covered for any damage such as broken displays and keypads or damage to any internal or external components. Viscount said the coverage can significantly reduce unforeseen repair expenses, while also providing investment protection and peace of mind.

The MC75 is expected to be available globally in the third quarter of 2008 through Motorola PartnerSelect members and Motorola sales. Viscount estimated the MC75 will run between $2,635 and $3,035 based on configuration. When the MC75 launches, a host of software providers will certify that their applications will run onit— such as VoIP from Avaya and push-to-talk capabilities form Kodiak.