Windows CE Goes Rugged with Sidearm Device

CHICAGO (04/18/2000) - Melard Technologies Inc. is promoting here at Comdex its latest ruggedized portable computer, the Sidearm, which runs Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE and offers integrated wireless connectivity.

The Sidearm features Intel Corp.'s new 206MHz Strong Arm processor, designed to use less power, so that the 7.2-inch by 8.6-inch (18.2-centimeter by 21.8-centimeter) device, which Melard classifies as a handheld, can operate for as long as 10 hours on a single charge of its lithium ion battery. It comes equipped with 16M bytes of memory and 16M bytes of storage space, but a CompactFlash memory slot is available for additional memory capacity.

The device, weighing 2.4 pounds (1.08 kilograms), is designed for organizations that send employees into the field, such as utilities and police forces, said Bob Wright, the product manager for the Sidearm. The Windows CE operating system allows the Sidearm to run a variety of field service applications created for the CE platform, and the device can operate on a number of networks, including BellSouth Corp.'s Mobitex wireless data network and the CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) network, Wright said.

Melard will integrate the appropriate internal modem into the Sidearm depending on what networks are available in the customer's coverage area, Wright said.

The device has been ruggedized according to military specifications, and is classified as watertight and able to sustain a drop to concrete from 5 feet (130 centimeters), Wright said. Another feature included for the benefit of the outdoor workforce is the Sidearm's transflective screen, which is designed to make it readable in sunlight.

Melard plans to begin producing the Sidearm, which will cost about US$2,100, at the company's Armonk, New York, plant in late June or early July, Wright said.

Melard Technologies Inc., in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at +1-914-273-4488 or online at

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