Qualcomm plans to introduce its own handheld driver device next year. Meanwhile, Chris Wolfe, president of Qualcomm’s Business Products Division, warned truckers to beware of store-shelf PDAs and other generic hardware.

“A lot of the commercial-grade products out there may be acceptable to some companies, but they’re not acceptable to most of the companies in transportation,” he said.
“If you bought an off-the-shelf PDA, a lot of those are spec’ed to like minus 10 degrees Celsius. So if you take that screen and leave it in your truck in Minot, N.D., it will take 10 minutes to warm up. If you bought it in the summertime, you might not even know of the problem until the first time you’re in Minneapolis,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said retail handhelds may not be rugged enough.
“As soon as a driver drops the phone and it breaks and he can no longer do his job, that’s a big issue,” he explained. “We’ve been doing a lot of work on a lot of different PDAs. We do our own work to see how we can make those more ruggedized as well as the applications.”
Wolfe said that some operating systems – he would not name names – are not up to demanding business use.
“If you’re running some of the operating systems, they’re not as robust as they need to be for running a business, an enterprise.”
Wolfe said Qualcomm is working on both hardware and software problems.
The company, he said, will introduce a rugged handheld device next year. Qualcomm is looking at off-the-shelf products that might be easily ruggedized for the trucking user, perhaps by encapsulation in tough materials, Wolfe said. Another option would be a co-designed unit. Wolfe pointed to Qualcomm’s MVPC onboard computer co-designed with Symbol Technologies as an example.

Excerpted from “Mobile Com Grows At Rapid Pace,” October Heavy Duty Trucking. Each month, HDT’s “IT Solutions” section brings you the latest in information technology. Click here to see if you qualify for a free subscription.