New Itronix tablet goes to extremes

Itronix Duo-Touch Tablet

When a fire drill at GCN headquarters recently interrupted a meeting with Itronix Corp. officials, makers of rugged portables, the group, armed with a pair of the Spokane, Wash., company's new Duo-Touch Tablets, adjourned to a nearby park plaza to go over the features of the next-generation tablet line.

The Duo-Touch, which begins shipping this month starting at $3,195, is very much the tablet PC version of the company's excellent GoBook III rugged notebook, down to its support for multiple wireless radios, including a Global Positioning System. It has a new, brighter dual-mode touch panel display that you can use with a stylus or your finger'a significant improvement. And it runs on the latest Intel 915 mobile chip set and Pentium M processor, so its performance is top-of-the line. You can even buy it with a hard-drive heater so the system boots up when the temperature is well below zero outside.

Matt Gerber, Itronix's senior vice president of product management, and Vince Menzione, the company's public sector VP, told GCN that the demand for GPS has surprised them. They estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of GoBook III customers wanted their systems with the optional $375 GPS radio. And in a preview of things to come, Menzione said Itronix is working on a rugged handheld that runs Windows XP instead of CE. He said certain government customers have told the company they'd like to use handhelds but haven't been able to effectively port some applications to the CE platform. No firm word on when such an Itronix PDA would be available.

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