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Rugged, wildly modular tablet runs Android and Linux

May 20, 2014 — by Rick Lehrbaum 3,662 views

Entegra announced a rugged, modular tablet that’s configurable for a wide range of environments and applications, and supports both Android 4.2 and Linux.

Entegra’s CrossfirePro is unlike any tablet you’ve encountered: it’s the consummate chameleon of rugged slates, boasting a modularity that starts with its snap-in Qseven computer-on-module processing core and extends to nearly every aspect of its I/O and software. Though it ships standard with a 1.86GHz quad-core Intel Bay Trail M-series N2930 processor, the COM-based core supports alternatives ranging from faster or slower Intel and AMD x86 CPUs, to ARM-based SoCs. It also accepts I/O add-ons such as barcode scanners, magnetic strip readers, fingerprint scanners, smart card and NFC readers, and a variety of custom modules, says the company.

CrossfirePro running Android (left), and with a rear-mounted cardswipe/keypad module
(click images to enlarge)

Entegra also offers three docks for the CrossfirePro, which support its use in office, point-of-sale, and vehicular environments. These would presumably be accompanied by snap-in or add-on modules, operating systems, and application software suitable to each market.

CrossfirePro’s desk, point-of-sale, and vehicle docks
(click images to enlarge)

The photos below show how the Qseven COM and mSATA storage devices snap into compartments in the rear of the tablet.

CrossfirePro’s configurable Qseven COM and mSATA storage device
(click image to enlarge)

To support such an extensive array of modularity, Entegra designed a unique mainboard that’s controlled by a PIC microcontroller. The PIC chip serves as a “traffic cop” to initialize and manage the options it discovers upon power-up, as illustrated in the diagram below.

CrossfirePro’s PIC µC discovers modules and configures the tablet accordingly on power-up
(click image to enlarge)

Summary of specifications


Entegra listed these specifications for the CrossfirePro:

  • Application processor core:
    • Processor — Intel N2930 Quad Core processor (formerly “Bay Trail M”) @ 1.86GHz
    • Graphics — integrated Gen 7 Intel HD Graphics
    • Memory — 4GB to 8GB DDR3L SDRAM
    • Upgradable COM — fanless, Qseven format
  • Storage — 64GB to 256GB mSATA
  • Display:
    • 9.7-inch (diag.), 1024 x 768 pixels, 132 PPI
    • > 350 NITS brightness
    • LED backlight
    • Digitized stylus
    • Anti-glare/reflection treated
    • Multi-mode input — finger-touch, glove-touch stylus
    • HL7 chemically-hardened glass
  • Cameras:
    • 2MP HD front camera
    • 5MP rear camera with flash and auto focus
  • Sensors — ambient light, accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, compass
  • Wireless:
    • WiFi — 802.11 a/b/g/n, MiMo enabled
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • Cellular — LTE-enabled with SIM card slot
    • GPS
  • Audio I/O:
    • Noise cancelling mic
    • 3.5mm headphone jack
    • 4x front speakers
  • Other I/O connectors:
    • USB 2.0/3.0 type A
    • Mini HDMI
  • Buttons — 4x programmable application buttons, volume and brightness buttons, power on/resume, reset, Ctl/Alt/Del
  • Status indicators — power, charge, DC-in, SSD LEDs
  • Security — TPM 1.2, Kensington lock slot, Blue Inside encryption enabled
  • Modular expansion methods:
    • Side I/O and U/I expansion boards
    • Expansion module bay
    • Docking connector
  • Expansion options — clamshell keyboard; 2D barcode scanner; magnetic swipecard reader; chip & pin reader; chip & signature; fingerprint scanner; smart card reader; NFC reader; custom modules
  • Mechanical:
    • Enclosure — magnesium alloy chassis with GLS overmold side and top bumpers, anti-bacterial treated
    • Dimensions — 11.0 x 8.5 x 0.85 in. (279 x 216 x 22mm)
    • Weight — 2.5 lbs (1.13kg)
  • Power:
    • Battery — 33.5Whr hot-swappable Li-ion; 6 hours operation (typical)
    • External supply — 40W universal input
  • Operating temperature — -10 to 50°C
  • Operating system options — Windows 7/8.1; WES7/8; Android 4.x; Linux

Further information

CrossfirePro will begin shipping in July, at prices ranging from “under $1,000 up to $2,000,” says the company. Additional details are available at Entegra’s website.

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