Motorola HC1 Announced

October 22, 2012

Insert line from Aliens here

Motorola, those mobile computing mavens, have officially announced their headset computer, the Motorola HC1. It looks like it’d be a great option for hands-free picking/shipping software, first responders, or even military/police use.

And a bit of research and checking out Motorola Solution’s Twitter tells me that the announcement is tied in with the Association of the US Army’s tradeshow going on this week, so they’re definitely positioning this for military application. They also put out a press release that was picked up by Engadget, Gizmodo, and even Slashdot.

The HC1 follows in their great naming convention and is a headset computer. One. Kind of like how the MC line is mobile computers, MT is mobile terminals, and LS is linear scanner.

Anyway, from what I gathered from the press release and their product page, the HC1 runs Windows CE 6.0, so you can run the same software on it as most mobile computers out there. However, the HC1 lacks keyboards and touchscreens and all those other hallmarks of a mobile platform, opting for voice recognition as well as head tracking. Development tools are available so you can integrate this functionality into your own software, so that’s nice.

It’s built with a pretty powerful TI processor and 512 MB of RAM, so you shouldn’t see a whole lot of lag with most apps. Like their other products, it looks like you’ll get a standard or extended size battery. Not sure how long either will last yet, but I imagine you’ll get something akin to a work shift or more per charge.

Like Motorola’s other enterprise devices, the HC1 is built to take a beating. An IP65 seal protects the unit entirely from dust as well as low pressure water jets, holding up to the abuse you might see in rough & tumble environments like emergency services or the military. Or water balloon fights. Get an eye in the sky and you can know exactly where your enemy is via the HC1’s display.

Optional models include mounted camera, which in my mind increases the number of potential applications dramatically. Some of the examples I’ve heard tie into engineering and repair aspects, in both military and aerospace applications. Rather than go between schematics on a table and the device you’re working on, the schematics and tutorials can be displayed on the HC1, speeding up your task and hopefully cutting down repair time.

One of the other ideas I thought of was much more Robocop-ly, where the camera can be used to capture images of people, potentially at a crime scene or in a hostile environment, sent wirelessly and processed in real-time to determine persons of interest or potential threats. It’s a really weird & specific thing, but when I first saw the HC1 I definitely thought of Terminator, Robocop, and Aliens.

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