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Mobile Data: What's new in in-car computing?

The latest in-car computers and laptops for law enforcement.

Melanie Basich 2012 Headshot


When you bestow the trade name "Rocky" on a line of computers, they had better be tough. Amrel's Rocky line of rugged computers lives up to its name. The line, which includes tablets and notebooks, is ruggedized to MIL-STD 810F. They can sustain rain, shock, humidity, vibration, salt, fog, altitude, and extreme temperatures. Yet, they are also light and fast. The Rocky Apex tablet has a high-speed Intel ultra low-voltage CPU, 512MB of RAM, and an 8.4-inch SVGA TFT Alpha-Star touchscreen display. Its laptop counterpart, the Rocky Unlimited RT7, features an Intel Pentium Dothan processor, 512MB RAM, a 60GB hard drive, and a 13.3-inch anti-reflective TFT display.  Click here to visit the company's website


Alameda, Calif.-based Data911 makes mobile data solutions as well as in-car digital video systems. The company's new M6 is a three-piece system that's easy to upgrade and easy to install. Multiple display options are available for the M6, including 15-inch, 12.1-inch, and 8.4-inch—all with 1200+ NIT brightness. Featuring Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Pentium M processors, the M6's design offers future upgrade options, backed by a three-year and three-month all-inclusive warranty. The M6 features a removable SATA hard drive, eSATA port, and ExpressCard slot. Internal WAAS-enabled GPS, Wireless LAN, and Broadband Wireless options are available. The M6 makes an excellent complement for Data911's Mobile Digital Video (MDV) system. Data911's MDV is a car-mounted wireless video camera that captures video and audio. Users can set it for continuous recording or to trigger when an incident begins. Click here to visit the company's website


A popular all-in-one system found in many police cars, Datalux Corp.'s Tracer is very easy to install; all you have to do is attach a single connection. Another interesting feature of the Tracer is that it has no cooling fan. The sealed case dissipates heat through pipes. Datalux's new version of the Tracer features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Microsoft Windows Vista support, increased memory and data storage capacity, and a removable hard disk drive. A high resolution SXGA LCD display and Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphic with up to 384MB of shared video memory will support the latest mobile police software. The Tracer does not interfere with airbag deployment. Click here to visit the company's website


Itronix's latest ruggedized notebook is the GoBook VR-2, which was designed from the ground up to meet the specific requirements of law enforcement officials and is optimized for vehicle-docked applications. The VR-2 offers a 13.3-inch display featuring DynaVue—a new patent-pending display technology developed by General Dynamics Itronix that offers superior touchscreen viewability, especially in direct sunlight. With integrated and protected WLAN and WWAN antennas for greater reliability and performance, as well as built-in GPS and Bluetooth, the GoBook VR-2's wireless capabilities ensure law officers remain connected. The Intel Core2 Duo processor T7300 2.2GHz and Intel 965GM Express chip set provide outstanding performance. Click here to visit the company's website


Getac is not exactly a household word, but the company is well known in the ruggedized computer market. The Getac V100 Rugged Laptop transforms with one quick rotation to a rugged tablet PC. It has an ultra low voltage Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a quiet fanless design, as well as a 10.4-inch LCD display with an optional 12.1-inch widescreen. A full-size 83-key keyboard is included with an option to upgrade to a rubber or LED backlight keyboard. The V100 includes an integrated 1.3MP camera and can be customized to include a built-in GPS receiver and antenna. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wireless LAN and 3G. The V100 is both MIL-STD-810F and IP54 compliant. Click here to visit the company's website



Primarily known for its ruggedized computers used in industrial applications, Glacier Computer recently entered the public safety market with its Magnum line. The Magnum comes with a 12-inch sunlight-readable color display and is offered with CPUs ranging in power from a 600MHz Celeron to a 1.4-GHz Pentium M. One unusual feature of the Magnum system is that it has a custom, onboard diagnostic and configuration utility. The diagnostic utility provides IT personnel with real-time access to key statistics such as processor temperature. Click here to visit the company's website



Sweden's JLT Mobile Computers makes mobile computers and nothing else. The JLT12041 is a rugged (MIL-STD 810F) fixed-mount computer for public safety applications. It comes in two versions: one with an Intel 1.4-GHz Pentium M CPU and 1GB of RAM and the other a 400-MHz processor with 128MB of RAM. JLT's display is a 12.1-inch 1000NIT SVGA touchscreen that's designed for use in bright sunshine and is also dimmable for night operations. A motorcycle version, the JLT100021, is also available with similar features and processing power as the car-sized models. Click here to visit the company's website


Although the company is not very well known in the United States, Kontron is one of the world's largest manufacturers of onboard computer systems and ruggedized notebook computers. Kontron's two best known products are the Envoy_II three-piece mobile data computing system and the Rugged Note ruggedized laptop. The Envoy_II features a 1.7-GHz Intel Pentium M processor with 512MB of RAM and a 2MB L2 cache. Storage options include 40GB, 60GB, and 80GB hard drives. The Rugged Note is a less than six-pound laptop that features a 1.1-GHz Intel Pentium M processor with a 1MB cache, 256MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive. Click here to visit the company's website


Most cops don't know the name L-3 Communications, but the company's products are well known. L-3 was constructed of divisions that once were part of Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, General Electric, and other major defense contractors. Its mobile data system for law enforcement is the MobileVu computer. MobileVu is a lot like a classic mobile data terminal. The brain of the system is mounted in the trunk, and the display and keyboard are mounted in the passenger area of the car. MobileVu's 12.1-inch 1500 NIT color matrix display is ultra bright for sunlight viewing but dimmable for night work. Click here to visit the company's website


Odds are if you use a computer in your patrol car, it's a Panasonic Toughbook. The Toughbook is by far the most popular mobile law enforcement computer. The Toughbook 30F notebook and the 19F convertible tablet PC both have displays that are twice as bright as most rugged notebook displays. Yet, it delivers more than six hours of battery life. The 30F notebook features a 1.66-GHz Intel Core Duo Processor with a 2MB L2 cache, 512MB of RAM, and a 60- or 80GB hard drive. The CF-19 convertible tablet PC is powered by a 1.06-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with a 2MB L2 cache, 1GB SDRAM that's expandable to 4GB, and an 80GB hard drive.  Click here to visit the company's website


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Melanie Basich 2012 Headshot
Managing Editor
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