The Gladius 5: An Android Phablet

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Today’s smartphones are really more like pocket computers that also happen to make phone calls. The Gladius 5, a ruggedized phablet from Arbor, takes this truism a step further with a hand-held device that’s more like a complete workplace, including the ability to make phone calls via one of two available SIM card slots.

In addition to everything most Android Jelly Bean devices (yes, it’s sticking to Android 4.2 for now) can do, the Gladius 5 is also equipped with a built-in 1D barcode reader or a 2D barcode imager, an RFID and NFC reader and wireless charging capability. There’s also a loaded sensor suite including accelerometer, barometer, digital compass, ambient light and triple-axis gyroscope.

Arbor markets the Gladius 5 as an “Internet of Things handheld device,” envisioning it as the ultimate field device for gathering data in the warehouse, during transport, at the point of sale or in medical applications. Of course, with dual SIM slots, wifi, and Bluetooth in the mix, the idea is that this data exchange is a two-way thing, so this rugged device is really more like an extension of the office than a “dumb” sensor.

The “rugged” aspect of the device is another key part of the pitch.  The Gladius 5 is rated to be dust-proof, to withstand a 5-foot drop, and some light splashing of (2)

Other software tweaks help further optimize this device for fieldwork, including easy setup of Bluetooth input devices like keyboards, and the included TouchPal app which is a Swype-like interface that also allows for “blind typing,” autoc orrecting for errors thanks to fat or gloved thumbs. At the core of this phablet is a 1 GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB storage with a microSD slot and a 1280 x 720 TFT display. Its big 3600 mAh battery is removable, which is good because it can run through it rather quickly. Arbor says the Gladius 5 delivers up to eight hours of battery life for typical use, which it describes as listening to MP3 files while browsing the internet via Wi-Fi and checking email hourly. If you’re watching video, battery life may be reduced to just six hours.

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