Motorola launches smaller rugged wireless devices

With two new smartphone models of MC55, customers can pick lowest-cost options

Motorola Monday announced the smallest and lightest versions in its MC55 series of ruggedized enterprise digital assistants, offering two models and multiple configurations to help customers keep down their upfront costs.

One model, the MC5590, is designed mostly for employees who work within four walls, such as health-care workers, who need Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. The device, which has no GPS capability, starts with a price of US$1,695 and is available worldwide Monday.

The other model, the MC5574, includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support but also has wireless WAN capability and GPS. Pricing starts at US$2,395. Motorola said the device is best suited for maintenance personnel and delivery workers in the field. It is available in many regions, and will become available in North America in the second quarter, Motorola said.

At just over 11 ounces, the MC5574 is small but rugged enough to survive drops and exposure to liquids. It is part of the family of Motorola handhelds that also include the MC70 and the MC75, said Sheldon Safir, Motorola's director of mobile computing for the enterprise mobility division. With this announcement, Motorola is ending production of the MC50 device, which was used primarily in health-care settings for the past four years.

Having two models and different configurations of features allows companies to choose only the capabilities they need, Safir said. "This is important to customers, especially these days, since they want to pay the lowest price for only what they need," Safir said.

Both models come with a 3.5 inch color touchscreen. The MC5590 is slightly lighter, at 11.1 ounces and is 5.78 x 3.03 x 1.06 inches in size, while the MC5574 is slightly larger, and provides a small external GSM antenna.

Both run Windows Mobile 6.1 and use the Marvell XScale PXA 270 520MHz processor. A total of 128MB of SDRAM and 256MB of Flash memory are included in both. Also, a microSD slow allows for up to 8GB of storage.

The rechargeable lithium ion battery supports six hours of talk time. A 2-megapixel camera is provided. A snap-on magnetic stripe reader for reading credit cards is available. Both models support voice over IP.

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