updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue July 17, 2007
Trimble today served those who need PDA-class software in the field with the Nomad, its new ultra-tough handheld. Rubber ends and a hardened casing render it shock- and vibration-proof to military levels, and tightened seals provide similar resistance to dust and to water. The device is completely submersible for up to half an hour in water up to 3.3 feet deep, Trimble says. Though not a smartphone, the device runs on Windows Mobile 6 and includes most of the wireless features used in more fragile devices, such as Internet access through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for headsets and other peripherals, and a 2-megapixel camera. Users can update the system after the sale with a CompactFlash card slot providing either more storage or room for specialized peripherals.
Other touches for its rough environment include a GPS receiver for live navigation, a VGA-resolution display visible in broad daylight, and battery life rated at 15 hours of steady use.
Unlike most PDAs or phones, Trimble additionally plans to release the Nomad in multiple editions without changing the central design. The basic Nomad 800B will sell for $1,699 with a comparatively large 512MB of flash memory and Bluetooth; higher-priced models double memory to 1GB and introduce the camera, GPS, and Wi-Fi features. The top 800LE will include all these plus a built-in barcode scanner for $2,499. The 800B and its more advanced 800L (with GPS and Wi-Fi) are available now, and should be followed by camera-equipped 800LC and 800LE editions in August.