REVIEW: Motion CL900 SlateMate

The iPad has made tablets popular in the workplace but the SlateMate is a much better fit for the enterprise environment.

2011 has been a stellar year for iPad sales including some infiltration of the Microsoft Windows dominated enterprise environment. However, the iPad isn’t designed to be rugged, doesn’t have an inbuilt method of acquiring data from swipe cards or bar codes and needs a VPN app paired with network connectivity to be able to use Windows applications.

Enter the Motion CL900 SlateMate , a 10.1 widescreen Windows 7 tablet that’s purpose built for business users such as medical staff, field force utilities crews, service technicians and sales people.

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The new SlateMate version of Motion’s CL900 tablet includes a Magnetic Stripe Reader and Barcode Scanner that help mobile users document and process data at the point of service such as QR codes used to mark product parts or scanning loyalty cards.

The Slatemate has a toughened gorilla glass 1366x768 resolution 10.1” widescreen that matches the 16:9 ratio of laptop screens and desktop LCD monitors while allowing multi-touch as well as digitiser stylus data entry.

Its rugged IP52 rated (water, dust and splash resistant) casing has been tested against the MIL-STD-810 G standard, including 1.2 metre drops and temperature shocks.

Motion’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Brett Gross told Technology Spectator that the “proliferation of iPads has helped validate our product”.

Several organisations that have purchased SlateMate’s had initially become interested in tablets due to the iPad but soon realised that they needed a tablet running Windows 7 which could run enterprise apps like Outlook Mail and had a real file system with file explorer/manager.

The SlateMate has replaced Windows 6.5 PDA’s used by several Motion customers who wanted a device that could improve efficiency, by helping determine inventory levels using the Barcode Scanner or membership level in the company loyalty scheme by using the Magnetic Stripe Reader.

Motion is considering offering 4G LTE as an option, however Gross noted that adding 4G would lower the current eight hour battery life and their customers are happy with the current 7.2mbps capability as faster speeds could encourage workers to watch streaming video.

Accessories available from Motion include a docking station (3 USB ports and ethernet), digitiser stylus, portfolio stand, full-size keyboard and mouse.