A few months ago I was shown some pictures of the beta version of what has become the LXE Marathon. At the time I thought it was rather interesting, but I wasn’t able to see how it would be something our customers would need.
Well, the product has now been officially announced and here’s a pic from LXE. The official name is The Marathon Field Computer. It seems to me to be a Panasonic ToughBook meets iPad concept – or maybe a ToughBook that has been flattened into a tablet. (I have ToughBooks on my mind since I’ve just made a Dunkin Donuts trip and I was checking out the ToughBook installs in all the local police cruisers parked outside).
The Marathon Field Computer (I think I’ll just call it MFC from now on) is an obvious development from the vehicle mounted computers LXE has offered for some time – you know the ones with names that sound as though they belong in a Norse legend from thousands of years ago.
One of the nice things with MFC is that it is offered with a number of operating systems – Windows 7, XP and Embedded (Microsoft’s workaround for the fact no existing apps will work with the new Windows Phone 7 OS) – no Android unfortunately, but hopefully one day!
It has all the wireless connectivity one could ask for; UMTS/HSPA, CDMA EV-DO, 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth and GPS. There is a decent keyboard, WVGA colour touchscreen and the usual options, barcode scanner, magnetic stripe reader etc. The whole thing is rated to IP65 and you can drop it to concrete from about 4 feet.
I’m still not sure this is something that most of my clients need (I don’t like to carry anything bigger than an iPhone myself), but LXE have identified a bunch of scenarios where the MFC would be useful – see the MFC microsite they’ve put up here. You’ll find some good info plus a lot of PDF datasheets there – be warned, the largest file sizes for a 2 page PDF I’ve ever seen!
One thing’s for sure – if there is ever a boxing match between the MFC and the iPad, my moneys on LXE!!
What are your thoughts on The Marathon Field Computer? Do you see any good applications for a device like this? It would certainly offer a good alternative to the ToughBook in all those police cars at Dunkin Donuts!
Let me know if you’d like to get more info. We are an LXE partner and will be happy to help out. Call me at 603-598-1553 x237 or use the contact form on the site.