Mobile data terminals

Published: 09th September 2008
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Vehicle telematics systems providers have for some time had to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of Generic PC based touch screen terminals in vehicles against the cost of lower volume higher priced purpose designed Mobile data terminals.

The colour screen and touch screen capability of most vehicle mounted CE devices initially makes them look attractive however the practicalities of these being used in the harsh environments of a commercial vehicle or taxi soon becomes an issue for the operator.

Most vehicle operators are advised never to operate non essential equipment whilst driving however this can sometimes be difficult or impossible when time sensitive data is received by a mobile data terminal such as a taxi job offer or a route change announcement. In such cases the driver will easily be able to respond with a single button reply whilst still driving the vehicle.

Low cost touch screen devises without tactile feedback can be very taxing as they require a level of hand eye co-ordination that could compete with a drivers concentration and attention to the road. In such cases it is far better to have a Mobile data terminal with fixed tactile buttons and acknowledgement beeps that allow the vehicle driver to locate the appropriate button and press it without taking their eyes off the road.

Few manufacturers are able to compete with the extremely low cost of mass produced touch screen PC devices however there are some emerging low cost bespoke vehicle mounted serial data terminals now reaching the market place. An example of this is the Datax3 Mobile data terminal manufactured by Diplomat Ltd. in the United Kingdom. To see a practical demonstration of one of these units please visit the datax3 website or the manufacturers at

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