Following on from the launch of a 7inch Android tablet last year, Getac have now launched a fully rugged 8 inch tablet that runs Windows 8.1. Field Service News spoke exclusively with Peter Molyneux about the new launch and Getac’s approach to creating the new device.
“Up until now Windows fully rugged tablets have been larger in size 10 inches plus” comments Peter Molyneux, President of Getac UK.
However, his company have just set a new precedent with the launch of their new tablet. The Getac T800 is slim, lightweight and a nicely compact 8.1 inches, making it small enough to fit into a pocket. However, it is also fully ruggedized to military standards meeting both MIL-STD 810G and IP65 standards.
With tablet devices now very much in the mainstream thanks in large to the rise in popularity of firstly Apple’s iPad and then more recently a raft of Android based devices from numerous manufacturers, the consumerisation of technology is now a major factor for the field service industry. This is not lost on Getac.
“There is a strong influence to our design on the consumerisation of the markets…” says Molyneux “…the demand from the market is that they want a tablet computer that has really got the performance and interface they have gotten used to in the consumer market place.” He adds.
In fact the speed at which we as consumers have embraced tablet computing is often forgotten, so quickly have tablets become a staple part of life. Similarly the speed at which devices are developed can also seem breathtakingly fast.
“If you start from the beginning and move to mass production taking a rugged tablet to market will take about 15 to 18 months – you can do it faster, but that is a sensible timeframe” Molyneux states.
Keeping pace with the latest technology trends
Of course, such rapid development of technology does mean that yesterday’s cutting edge is looking outdated today. Something that Molyneux and his colleagues at Getac fully understand.
“We could put our V100 magnesium alloy tablet on the table and the customers would say that’s old tech, the perception is ‘we want something new’”
In fact the switch away from magnesium alloy to a plastic compound is one of the big factors in the T800’s more consumeresque feel. This in itself presents a challenge to manufacturers of rugged devices.
“When we brought our new products to market we had to change the material, magnesium alloy is very good for thermal management and is a very rugged material but we have had to change to a plastic compound. This means all the manufacturing processes have to change, the machines have to change, the tooling is different etc” Molyneux explains
Getac's competitive advantage
However, this is in fact where Getac have a particular advantage over their competitors.
“We are very fortunate as a company that within the Getac Corporation we have companies that specialise in designing and manufacturing enclosures of all material types, magnesium alloys, plastics etc. So because we have companies within our group that are experts in each field, we are able to design and bring the latest technologies and trends to our computer design” he continues.
Yet it doesn’t matter how robust a device is, if its performance levels are not sufficient, then there is little point in having the device at all. Again the mass consumerisation of technology leads to greater expectations, and again this is something Getac factor highly into their thinking when developing a new product.
Molyneux points to the fact that perhaps five years ago rugged technology was generally behind consumer in terms of processing power by a couple of years at least. However, today, lower powered processors (Molyneux cites Intel in particular) have meant that rugged tablets and netbooks have been able to move forward to equal most systems, whilst also allowing for more slimline designs for fully rugged devices such as the T800
Indeed such advances in chip-ware have allowed Getac to build rugged devices that operate at the very top of the technology scale. Align this to the fact that the company manufactures all components itself, from motherboard to chassis (a holistic approach which enables them to factor ruggedity at each stage of the design) and you have a company capable of producing something as sophisticated, sleek and durable as the T800.
In fact it is part of Getac’s ethos to constantly deliver their customers with devices that are cutting edge technology.
“We are staying very much with the latest tech.” Molyneux enthuses “For the longest life and the best performance. We have the opportunity to take new technology to the customers and we are quite unique in what we do in that we offer the very latest spec without compromising on offering full military standard ruggedity”
Getac will also be appearing at this year’s Service Management Expo and will be giving a presentation in the Field Service Solutions Theatre at the event which is hosted by Field Service News.
To get your free of charge, three day pass to this years Service Management Expo held in Excel London, simply click this link and enter the promotion code 'Field Service News'