The iPad beater is here

At least if you like to beat up your Pad

JUNIPER SYSTEMS HAS announced its new Mesa Rugged Notepad and if you’re the kind of person that likes to take your “pad” with you wherever you go, no matter the conditions, then this is the product you’ve been waiting for. Juniper Systems claims that it’s the world’s first rugged notepad, although we’re not entirely sure that this statement is correct, although as they’re not calling it a tablet but rather a notepad, they might just be right.

Sadly the Mesa isn’t as exciting as it first appears to be, as this 5.7-inch handheld computer turns out to be running Windows Mobile 6.5.3. There are of course some minor advantages to this, such as an install base of applications that targets the kind of market that Juniper Systems is going after, i.e. vertical markets where a more or less unbreakable handheld computer is needed. Alternative operating systems don’t have much penetration in these markets and as such the Mesa is likely to become a popular alternative to similar products already in the market.

Hardware wise the Mesa packs an 806MHz PXA320 processor, 256MB of RAM, 4GB of flash storage, a 640×480 resolution touch screen,  an SDHC card slot, a serial port, a USB host and a USB client port, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and even a 3.2Megapixel camera. There’s also a model with a built in quad band 3G modem. The Mesa comes with a two “warm swappable” 2550mAh batteries which Juniper Systems claim is good for up to 16h of usage and the Mesa is meant to charge in two to four hours. The batteries are easily swappable “in the field” and an optional “travel” charger is also available that can charge a pair of batteries at a time.

The Mesa meets the IP67 dust and waterproof standard, it can operate at temperatures down to -20 degrees C (or -4F), it can handle drops from 1.2m (or 4 feet) onto concrete and it meets the MIL-STD-810G specification. At 136x200x51mm (5.3×7.9×2 inches) WxHxD it’s not exactly pocket friendly and at almost 1kg (2.2lb) with both batteries, it’s not going to replace your normal gadgets either. Still, if you like taking your “pad” mountain biking, paragliding, jungle trekking, or something else where a normal tablet just doesn’t cut it, then this is the product you’ve most likely been waiting for. The Mesa is likely to cost a small fortune, but then again, so do all of these type of devices, as all that ruggedness doesn’t come for free.S|A

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