Earlier today, TDS (Tripod Data Systems, a subsidiary of Trimble Navigation LTD) announced the Trimble Nomad, their newest rugged Pocket PC. We were honored to receive an exclusive hands-on preview of the product prior to the event, and after using it for a few days, I'd like to offer a "first look" at my experiences with the device.
Trimble Nomad: the latest rugged Windows Mobile device from Trimble Navigation LTD.
The Trimble Nomad is slightly larger than the TDS TerraGuide (which I reviewed in the Feb/Mar 2006 issue of Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine). That unit was so good, that I recommended everyday users examine this device if they were considering "journeying to the wild places of the world and need a device that they can depend on." Unfortunately, the TDS TerraGuide ran Windows Mobile 2003, in a world where Windows Mobile 5 devices were dominating the market. With the new Trimble Nomad, TDS has completely turned that problem around by being an early adopter of Windows Mobile 6!
But the operating system isn't the only way that TDS has decided to come out with "all guns blazing." They've done everything within their power to make the Nomad a best-in-class device, including implementing a blisteringly-fast 806 MHz processor. This device is so fast, that I honestly could not believe how quickly it responded while navigating around the Windows Mobile OS and running even the most processor-intensive applications.
Next up is the portrait-oriented 480x640 pixel VGA screen. As you might know, Windows Mobile 6 is becoming the platform for full-VGA displays. And the Nomad is the poster-child for a display that really impresses. The use of full VGA resolution will be essential for enterprise applications that utilize road, topographical or satellite maps, display digital photographs or simply demand a higher-resolution display. Although the Transflective TFT screen doesn't top some of the best RTFT displays I've ever seen, it is still completely usable in broad daylight applications.
Finally, the Nomad features embedded technologies that make this device absolutely invaluable. The base model Nomad 800B includes Bluetooth wireless communications, while the next higher model, Nomad 800L adds 802.11g networking and GPS technologies. The 800LC model also incorporates a 2 megapixel digital camera and the top-end 800LE adds a digital bar code scanner.
Like previous units from Trimble, the Nomad is MILSTD-810F certified to withstand impacts, vibration, humidity, altitude and extreme temperatures and has an IP67 rating to certify it is completely sealed against dust, and can withstand a 30 minute immersion in one meter of water. The Nomad also features all of the refinements of the previous generations of TDS Windows Mobile devices, including a custom battery logger application, compatibility with the incredibly-...