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GBM InkShow: Motion Releases J3500 Slate Tablet PC

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Very nice. Motion has released the J3500 Slate Tablet PC, a ruggedized entry into their lineup that in review testing seems to be not only a reliable performer but one that will give users an excellent touch and pen experience.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with the J3500 Slate, and I’m quite impressed with what Motion has done here. Keep in mind that this is a niche Tablet PC aimed at a niches that need ruggedized computers, but for those who fit the markets Motion is going for, this will most likely be a welcome choice to consider.

Let’s talk about the device and what it offers.

Touch and Pen

The dual digitizer touch and pen experience work very well. We’ve seen this dual approach before, but this is as smooth an implementation as I’ve seen with Windows 7 Professional as the OS. Inking is smooth as silk using the included stylus, and the two finger touch works well. Switching between the two input methods is effortless. Motion has included some Touch UI widgets to emphasize that they are paying attention to the current touch craze and they offer you a range of options on how to interface with the device. The cute little widget that I show in the InkShow seems almost out of place on a business orientated device, but then that’s my taste and may not be yours.

Fit and Finish

The device is a bit heavy for my liking, but then it is a ruggedized device and that requires an entirely different spec when it comes to protecting the guts of the machine. That said, the slate feels very good in my hands and the attention to detail in the design and construction is evident right away. It doesn’t feel like your typical ruggedized Tablet PC and in fact could easily pass for not being one. That said, it is a rugged piece of kit conforming to the MIL-STD-810G and IP-52 ratings. The device can contain two batteries that are hot swappable. With two batteries the J3500 weighs in at 4lbs. With one it weighs in at 3.6lbs. The 12.1 inch display fits seamlessly into the case and can be optionally fitted with Gorilla Glass if you need that kind of protection.

Options, You’ve Got Options

Besides choosing between Core i7 and Core i5 processor solutions, users have various options that they can choose from in storage, display, and connectivity. You can install at 1.8GB HDD with 160GB capacity or opt for an SSD in 64GB or 128GB capacity. In addition to the Gorilla Glass mentioned above, your display choices include the following:

• 12.1″ AFFS+ LED backlight digitizer wide screen (WXGA) display with dual touch
• 12.1” TN LED backlight digitizer wide screen (WXGA) display with dual touch
• 12.1” AFFS+ LED backlight digitizer wide screen ViewAnywhere® (WXGA)displaywithGorillaTMglass

You’ve also got a range of connectivity options that include GOBI 2000 in addition to the standard WiFi and Bluetooth, and Ethernet.

The J3500 includes a DPad for navigation and three multi-function programmable buttons on the bezel. Intriguingly as I looked for a button for screen rotation, out of the box none was programmed for this function. By default automatic screen rotation is turned off and you can switch this on. I didn’t have time to see if I could program one of the buttons for this function, but you can always access rotation controls via Motion’s Dashboard.

I am genuinely pleased to see the J3500 among Motion’s offerings. Given the market, the steep price points (the review unit I reviewed is priced at $3162 and of course prices will depend on your options), is understandable but certainly not targeted at consumers. The excellent design choices and usability of this device sure make me long for affordable Tablet PC solutions for the consumer market.

Accessories

Motion included the docking station and a portable keyboard for my review as well. I cover both in the InkShow.

Press Release follows:

Motion Launches the J3500 Rugged Tablet PC

Enhancements include advanced Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors, and a host of new options including dual touch technology, durable Gorilla™ glass and expanded storage capabilities

AUSTIN, Texas – June 22, 2010 – Motion Computing®, a leading provider of integrated mobile computing solutions, today announced the J3500 tablet PC.  Built on the Motion® J-Series line of tablet PCs, the J3500 features Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors for enhanced performance, security and manageability.  The J3500 also offers a variety of integrated features including touch technology, Gorilla™ glass, and expanded storage options.

New Capacitive Dual Touch

The J3500 with capacitive dual touch enables mobile workers to take advantage of the natural gesture navigation features built in Windows® 7 and other software applications.  Optimized for digitizer and touch input, users can navigate touch-enabled software applications or legacy programs with smaller targets that require the accuracy of pen input.  For more flexibility, palm rejection technology distinguishes between intentional and false touch while stylus recognition enables users to easily switch between input modes.

“Motion has long been recognized as an innovator in tablet computing, and is again offering new ways for enterprise users to enhance productivity through multiple interaction methods,” said Eddie O’Brien, VP Microsoft OEM. “Now, mobile workers can take full advantage of tablet computing, benefitting from the accuracy of pen input and the convenience of natural gestures, enhancing productivity as they navigate applications in the field.”

Enhanced Integrated Features

The J3500 also offers new features to help improve productivity and durability across Motion’s target vertical markets such as construction, field service and healthcare, including:

  • · Extra-durable Corning Gorilla™ glass, offering up to a 4 times improvement in breakage resistance1, and new anti-smear coating for improved visibility
  • · Enhanced system storage, with available 160GB hard disk drive (HDD), and 64GB or 128GB solid state drive (SSD) options and up to 4GB of RAM
  • · Improved 3.0 megapixel documentation camera
  • · Integrated Gobi2000™ mobile broadband with GPS

“Governments today must empower an extensive mobile workforce that depends on accessing information whenever and wherever,” said Darrell Lewis, VP of Product Management at Accela, Inc.  “With Accela Mobile Office™ software running on the J3500, field workers in areas such as permitting, licensing, code enforcement, and public works, can take advantage of enhanced mobile computing capabilities in a sleek, rugged device.”

Intel Core vPro for Enhanced Performance, Security and Manageability

Now with Intel® Core™ i7 or Core™ i5 vPro™ technology, the J3500 offers a significant improvement in performance and enables Motion customers to experience:

  • Enhanced remote management capabilities enabling IT technicians to repair and secure the PC from any location, even while powered-down or in sleep mode, enabling greater levels of energy efficiency and streamlined maintenance processes
  • Increased security with fully manageable hard drive encryption, and Intel® Anti-Theft technology used with Computrace®, protecting valuable data in case of loss or theft
  • Improved multitasking with smart technology that adjusts processor speed to support workload changes, providing power when needed and working more efficiently when possible

“Enterprises have embraced the J-Series line of Motion Tablet PCs based on their flexibility, performance, mobility and durability,” said Mike Stinson, Vice President of Marketing, Motion Computing.  “With the J3500, we extend the enterprise benefits with a tablet PC solution that is powerful, durable, multi-functional and mobile, enabling mobile workers to significantly improve productivity and collaboration through real-time access to enterprise data in the field.”

Enterprise-Ready, Durable Tablet PCs

Tested to withstand harsh mobile work environments, the rugged and flexible J3500 Tablet PC meets MIL-STD-810G and IP-52 ratings to ensure protection against bumps, drops, rain or other conditions that can damage commercial-grade computing solutions.  Additionally, the dual hot-swappable battery solution extends the computing day and enables easy replacement of charged batteries without interruption.   Built to fit seamlessly into enterprise environments, Motion’s complete line of tablet PCs utilize either the Windows® 7 or Windows XP operating system, reducing the burden on IT and enabling mobile workers to manage the same applications available to office-based employees.

Availability

The new Motion J3500 is now available through Motion’s network of value-added resellers and distributors.  For more information or to find a certified Motion reseller visit Motion’s Channel Resources page.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MotionComputing

1 Based on internal Motion strength tests versus standard glass.

About Motion Computing

Motion Computing is a global leader in integrated mobile computing solutions, combining world-class products with services customized for the unique needs of target vertical markets.  The company’s enhanced line of rugged tablet PCs, mobile point of care solutions and accessories are designed to increase mobile productivity while providing portability, security, power and versatility.

Motion Mobility Solutions offers a complete portfolio of products, services and support that helps ensure a successful mobile deployment for increased productivity, reducing project risk while delivering a more rapid return on investment.  For more information, visit www.motioncomputing.com.

Motion Computing and Motion are registered trademarks of Motion Computing, Inc, in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

28 Comments

  1. Drnkusv

    06/22/2010 at 7:52 am

    Warner,

    Have you used a J3400, and, if so, do you notice a significant increase in speed and performance in the new model? The J3400 is pretty snappy on Windows 7, in my experience.

    Thanks.

    • Warner Crocker

      06/22/2010 at 8:05 am

      I have not used a J3400.

      • Drnkusv

        06/22/2010 at 8:13 am

        Thanks. Great job on the inkshow. Looks like a nice machine.

    • MAGunn

      06/22/2010 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for the question. Our internal tests actually showed an almost 40 percent performance improvement over the J3400. Too bad we didn’t get one to Warner so he could make the comparison! (from Motion)

  2. Irked Inker

    06/22/2010 at 9:36 am

    Hot damn! A *real* slate w/ pen+multitouch input is great news, and a solid alternative to the Lenovo X201t. I’ve been hanging on to my LE1700 for dear life, but I may finally be ready to upgrade. Now to convince the powers that be that $3000K+ is worth it… :-)

    Only problem I see is that the ViewAnywhere coating has been been a horrible fingerprint magnet in past iterations; unless the Gorilla Glass option’s new “anti-smear coating” is a radical improvement, one of the other screen options might be a better choice for those planning to poke these with their greasy fingers.

    • Brett Gilbertson

      06/22/2010 at 8:55 pm

      The Gorilla Glass screen is certainly much clearer than the older style glass. The only drawback is that it doensn’t go with touch.

      I have certainly noticed the fingerprints less on the Gorilla Glass F5s. Then again, Motion supply the tablets with 3M cloth that works beautifully with a little bit of water.

    • ChrisRS

      06/22/2010 at 9:52 pm

      It is nice to see an updated tablet. Apparently this si “2-pont” touch. I do not know how this compares with other “Multi Touch” screens.

  3. Irked Inker

    06/22/2010 at 9:54 am

    Just watched the inkshow – that touch software is very nifty. And I still love that stowable J-series keyboard. Well done, Motion!

    Warner, you too – nice to see you back in your element, as far as that’s concerned :-)

    • Irked Inker

      07/04/2010 at 8:32 pm

      OK, after a little exploring, it seems that the Motion QuickNav software for the J3500 is a carryover from the J3400 – can’t tell if there are any changes in the software on the new slate. QuickNav itself appears to be a customized version of DialKeys Gen2 by Fortune Fountain, released on Oct 13, 2008 (though apparently not updated since). GBM’s release coverage of this software was pretty spotty; I’m surprised I haven’t stumbled on it before – looks interesting. Anybody using this on a regular basis? There are some pretty interesting skins included in the demo version (incl most of what Motion seems to offer), though I’d be curious about end-user customization options…

  4. acerbic

    06/22/2010 at 11:04 am

    $3162… yeah, these things not selling like hotcakes sure proves that consumers just don’t want a slate pc.

    • AmbiDextrose

      06/22/2010 at 11:28 am

      @acerbic

      You completely missed the point of this product. This is not designed (nor marketed) as a run-of-the-mill consumer-oriented device- this device will appeal to people who work in extreme conditions and environments. A lot of the cost associated with this product is associated with ‘hardening’ it against these extreme conditions.

      • acerbic

        06/22/2010 at 11:45 am

        No, you missed my point which was that when it comes to consumer slates/tablets, all the pundits are babbling that nobody should put Windows on them because people just don’t want it, as evidenced by how badly tablet pcs have sold. Perhaps I should have used some kind of sarchasm tag.

        • AmbiDextrose

          06/22/2010 at 12:08 pm

          Depends on what you’re using it for. I use my TabletPC as a digital sketchbook (Photoshop, Painter, ArtRage, PaintTool SAI), for 3D modeling (Softimage XSI, ZBrush, Rhino3D, MoI, Silo3D), as a digital notebook (One Note), document annotation (BlueBeam), and circuit design (ExpressPCB, ExpressSCH) among others. I definitely need a full-fledged OS to run my applications.

          I’ve been using tablets since 2001 and am now using an HP2740P and I’ve seldom had to cahnge it from slate mode.

          • ChrisRS

            06/22/2010 at 10:01 pm

            I think the point was that this price point is well beyond the consumer price range (say $1,500 for a powerfull laptop, not a $500 netbook.)

            Other that the 14″ Gateway convertable tablets there have not been any TabletPCs that were not comparatively under powered and over priced. Had someone pursued the consumer market, with reasonably priced TabletPCs availabe to actually try out in a store, consumer acceptance might have been greater.

          • Bill V

            07/12/2010 at 9:03 am

            $3000 is too high for even the business market. Even with a slate you still need a PC. Slates are great for project review with a client or basic data entry but I can not crunch a large file with it. I am in R&D for construction projects. So, I know the need for rugged but I would rather pay $500 for a unit with less wetherability. Keep in mind we are taking PCs to the field now and doing just fine for well under $3000.

      • Mickey Segal

        06/22/2010 at 2:29 pm

        The point is that Motion may be missing the boat and going after a niche market. Why can’t Motion ask its folks in China to use an iPad like form factor and run Windows instead? It will chew up power until Microsoft optimizes Windows better for mobile devices, but a computer that runs for one day’s use instead of two would be fine in the meantime.

        Even if it were like Apple devices, with non-replaceable batteries that die after two years, you could buy quite a few of those for $3,000.

        I’d rather dock and charge a tablet every night than have a limited device that needs to go through iTunes syncing.

        • GoodThings2Life

          06/22/2010 at 6:03 pm

          Exactly!

        • acerbic

          06/22/2010 at 6:27 pm

          I wonder if anything could entice some Shenzhen KIRF maker to duplicate one of these, minus of course the ruggedizing, LoJack and other unnecessary bells and whistles and sell it for $500…

    • Brett Gilbertson

      06/22/2010 at 9:00 pm

      We sell them like hotcakes! Not to consumers of course, but our Motion sales have not looked back since the introduction of the J3400.

      Consumers are sheep, and they usually can’t afford a device like this. There will be devices to suit that market, but like the iPad, they won’t compare to a Motion J3500 with an i7 processor in many ways at all.

      Businesses get payback very quickly from these devices. It’s a whole different mindset, and I beleive that it is working exceptionally well for Motion…

      • acerbic

        06/22/2010 at 9:33 pm

        I don’t quite believe that it’s the i7 processor that hikes the price to over $3000. Why not also make a device like this but without all those business doodads like built-in encryptions and remote managements, just a neat basic slate that consumers could afford? Would that somehow not work for Motion?

        • ChrisRS

          06/22/2010 at 10:03 pm

          I agree.

          • Mickey Segal

            06/23/2010 at 9:32 am

            I have no objection to Motion making these rugged expensive powerful Tablets, but the bigger market is in lighter less expensive devices for the mass market. It is painful to watch one of the leaders in Tablets abdicate, particularly the company that made the best tablet so far that one could carry in a jacket pocket.

            When the Motion LS800 came out years ago the infrastructure for producing thin tablets wasn’t there. Now it is. Not using it is a shame.

            There is a tendency to assume that a success such as the iPad is something to be emulated in all its aspects. The smarter response is to figure out which parts people like (form factor, cost, battery life) and deliver those, and figure out which parts people don’t like (Apple controlling programs you are allowed to run and need to sync with a real computer) and avoiding those.

  5. Brett Gilbertson

    06/23/2010 at 3:07 am

    I do agree that big brands like HP, Dell and others should be able to produce a decent slate for a consumer price without the doodads, however:

    http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=47700&processor=i7-640UM&spec-codes=SLBMM

    $300 per processor is hard to squeeze into a $600 device.

    This pricing then flows down the line with higher spec components (more expensive) and production sizes. Also, the motion device is rugged and designed to last for its 3 year warranty which is also a major difference – when say compared to an iPad.

    A relatively small company like motion (compared to Apple, Microsoft and Google) can’t throw a billion dollars at a product that might not work. But on the consumer front, the big players should look at Motion’s success in business slates and realise that good hardware and design can overcome perceptions about minor details like OS quirks in the consumer market.

    I do however believe that it is only a matter of time before the devices that we are all wanting at a decent price turn up….

    • acerbic

      06/23/2010 at 11:59 am

      “I do however believe that it is only a matter of time before the devices that we are all wanting at a decent price turn up”

      I hope so. It’s just extremely frustrating and amazing that in today’s America you gotta gripe, beg and plead for a chance to give your money to somebody, anybody for a product you desire.

      I don’t believe for a second that an affordable, practical Windows 7 slate is somehow technically or financially impossible to build and sell right now. No rocket science required. It just seems that if one is tentatively introduced and it turns out to be 0.57″ thick instead of the divine diamond standard 0.50″, some navel lint of an iFad licker starts yipping “chunkyfail! chunkyfail!” and the gutless wimps kill the project.

  6. Joe

    06/23/2010 at 5:17 pm

    Damn, release a 10″ J3500 already, and I’d definitely be in. 12″ is too large for me for a slate.

  7. shanemac

    06/25/2010 at 4:36 pm

    Great review Warner, i would love this J3500 for work but dropping over 3 thousand dollars on one but not getting the chance to feel and play with one before hand is unsettling. Plus me being a bit cheap doesn’t help either.

    2 grand is about my limit for a slate it doesn’t have to be a fully rugged unit but durable…in the mean time i better start saving or stop being so cheap.LOL

  8. Trace Myers

    07/08/2010 at 12:19 am

    Ok, I believe the point made earlier is that saying Windows should not be used on a slat because consumers don’t want it is wrong because everyone is comparing Apples to oranges…pun intended. Ipads are cheap and the only real resemblance to a real slate is that it has no keyboard. These products are meant for business and they are good at it. From an institutional point of view. Those of us who do our own business though still use these though. I do need something that does touch…preferably a better multitouch than just 2 fingers…and pen. I use multiple drawing apps as well as tons of note taking…try Evernote…works well. But many people are right that ONLY catering to the vertical business markets are letting a premier slate maker (Motion) stay out of a limelight they could easily share if not steal. Try making slightly lighter range of tablets…I3 processors, Optimus video and mainly…give us an HDMI out so we can entertain ourselves AND work with these gadgets…who wants to carry a j3500 AND an iPad just to have something user friendly to watch movies on when we are NOT working.

  9. Ignatius

    11/10/2010 at 3:21 pm

    Here is the specialized text editor for multi-touch pcs. This application have custom gestures for most of all its functionalities like Copy, Paste, Cut, Undo, Redo, Enter, Tab, Space, Backspace, Delete, Select all etc… Its called as StNotepad Touch. Now we can edit text easily without traditional keyboard and mouse, its most suitable for Slate PCs and Tablet Pcs. To know more details about this visit http://stforms.net/stnotepad-touch/ and to watch its video

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