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Rugged handheld runs Android, scans barcodes

Nov 20, 2013 — by Eric Brown 2,011 views

Intermec unveiled a rugged, Android-ready handheld computer designed for field service applications. The CN51 is equipped with a 1.5GHz, dual-core TI OMAP4 SoC, a 4-inch, 800 x 480 resistive touchscreen, IP64-rated sealing, 12-hour plus battery, and options including 1D and 2D barcode scanners, keypads, GLONASS-ready GPS, cellular, and a 5-megapixel camera.

Intermec, which is now part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, targets the CN51 at direct store delivery, transportation and logistics, and field service operations. The mobile computer is accessory compatible with the earlier CN50 handheld, and offers a faster processor and larger screen.

Intermec’s CN51 rugged handheld
(click images to enlarge)


The CN51 is available with either Android 4.1 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6. Since the same device supports both, customers can start with Windows, and then migrate to Android, says the company. Those wanting to start with Android should keep in mind that some of the Android versions of the optional software provided by Intermec are said to currently be in limited configurations.


Software and services include Intermec’s optional CloneNGo, which offers device provisioning for replicating a master configuration across an unlimited number of devices. The Intermec SmartSystems Management Console option, meanwhile, monitors key sub-systems including scanning, communications, and device health. Intermec’s Medallion Advanced and Support Services are touted as reducing “unexpected operational impacts of network communication issues or minimizing device downtime.”

The CN51 is built around a dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4470 system-on-chip clocked to 1.5GHz, and ships with 1GB of RAM and 16GB flash. A customer-accessible microSD slot is also available.

The 4-inch, 800 x 480 display uses resistive touch technology, but is said to offer multi-touch support. The backlit touchscreen is “outdoor readable,” and can be augmented with either a 27-key numeric or 43-key QWERTY keypad, also with backlighting, says Intermec.

Cellular and imaging options

As is often typical with handheld computers designed for a variety of field-service applications, most of the features on the CN51 are optional. Standard equipment includes WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and USB 2.0 host and client ports. A speaker and microphone, with push-to-talk capability are also standard issue.

In the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, buyers can select the Flexible Network Radio option, which enables switching back and forth between CDMA and UMTS/HSPA+ networks. A UMTS/HSPA+ model is available in other countries. A cellular option is required to buy the GPS option, which includes GLONASS support and better than -158 dBm tracking sensitivity.

Also optional are a 5-megapixel camera and one of two barcode scanning options. Intermec’s EA30 or EA31 “high performance” imagers can scan 1D and 2D barcodes in various conditions, including low light scanning environments, says the company. The imagers are said to provide “unmatched motion tolerance and snappy scanning,” as well as support for Mobile Document Imaging (MDI) and Remote Deposit Capture (RDC).

The CN51 supports operating temperatures between -10 to 50°C, says Intermec. Other ruggedization features are said to include IP64 ingress protection, as well as drop, tumble, and electrostatic discharge resistance. The 12.3-ounce device measures 6.45 x 2.93 x 1.26 inches, tapering down to 1.09 inches on one bottom, and can run on its battery pack for over 12 hours, says the company.

Key specifications for the CN51 include:

  • Processor — TI OMAP4470 (2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 1.5GHz)
  • Memory:
    • 1GB RAM
    • 16GB flash
    • MicroSD slot for up to 32GB
  • Display:
    • 4-inch, 800 x 480 resistive touchscreen
    • 24-bit color depth
    • LED backlight with ambient light sensor
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11a/b/g/n (only b/g/n on devices with cellular option); WPA and WPA2, WAPI certified
    • Bluetooth 4.0 BLE (power class 1.5)
    • Optional UMTS/HSPA 900/2100MHz (outside U.S., Australia, NZ)
    • Optional Flexible Network with switching between UMTS/HSPA+ (800/850/900/1900/2100MHz) and CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A (800/1900MHz) in U.S., Australia, NZ
  • GPS (only with cellular options):
    • 12-channel, network independent autonomous mode
    • Supports assisted operation via XTRA, CP E911
    • GPS dedicated AT commands
    • NMEA-0183 V2.3 support
    • GLONASS support
    • -158 dBm and better tracking sensitivity
  • Imaging options:
    • 5-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash
    • EA30 motion-tolerant 2D imager with up to 500 in/s white LED illumination
    • EA31 motion-tolerant 2D imager with up to 400 in/s white LED illumination
  • USB — USB 2.0 HS host; USB 2.0 HS client
  • Other features — accelerometer; speaker; mic with push-to-talk support
  • Other hardware options:
    • Backlit keypad (27-key numeric or 43-key QWERTY)
    • Charging and docking accessories
    • FlexDock modular docking system
    • Vehicle dock and holder
    • Snap-on adapters
    • Removable scan handle
    • Magnetic stripe reader
  • Software options (configurations may be limited on Android):
    • Intermec SmartSystems, including ScanNGo device provisioning and CloneNGo P2P device management
    • Intermec Developer Library
    • Imaging Solutions, including VIN scanning, reusable container, serial number scanning, remote deposit capture, license plate verification, mobile document imaging, shipment address verification
    • Device Health Monitoring
    • Skynax Mobile Communications
  • Operating temperature — -10 to 50°C (14 to +122°F)
  • Ruggedization:
    • IP64 rain and dust resistance
    • 1,000 – 0.5 m (1.6 ft.) tumble resistance at room temperature
    • 26 drops from 1.5m (5 ft.) to concrete drop resistance (MIL-STD 810G)
    • +/- 15kV air discharge, +/- 8kV direct discharge resistance
  • Battery — 3.7V, 3900mAh Li-Ion removable, rechargeable batteries; 12 hour plus duration
  • Weight with battery — 350 g (12.3 oz)
  • Dimensions — 164 x 74 x 28 or 32 mm (6.45 x 2.93 x 1.09 or 1.26 inches)
  • Operating system — Android 4.1 or Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5

Testimonials vowing compatibility with the CN51 include Twisted Pair and its WAVE Mobile Communicator for Push-to-Talk, and ALK Technologies and its CoPilot Professional GPS software.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the CN51. More information may be found at Intermec’s CN51 product page.

(advertise here)

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