The consumer market for computers and tablets receives most of the buzz, but a pretty strong battle is being waged for enterprise computing dollars, especially companies outfitting their service technicians with more powerful mobile devices. This week two more products made the competition in the field a little more fierce. While one device is a hybrid tablet/PDA/PC and the other is a pure tablet, they both weigh and cost about the same and should appeal to the same audience.

EMS Technologies LXE Marathon Field Computer

Tipping the scales at under a kilogram (2.2. pounds), this hybrid offering — which started shipping this week — combines a QWERTY keyboard, 7-inch sunlight-visible touchscreen and the processing power of a laptop. According to Mobile Enterprise, the LXE Marathon “runs full Windows XP with an ergonomic form factor and multiple data input options, enhances process efficiency in applications including: intermodal facilities, warehouse supervision, manufacturing maintenance, quality control, retail line-busting, rental inspection, and industrial field service.”

The LXE Marathon comes with an integrated fingerprint reader that doubles as a mouse, GPS and a high resolution camera, and there are several optional features that help the device integrate several enterprise functions, including:

  • Magnetic stripe reader
  • 2D imager
  • Extended life batteries

Prices start at $2,000.

General Dynamics Itronix GD3015 Tablet PC

With what looks like a direct competitor for the Motion CL900 and Xplore’s DMSR tablet, General Dynamics’ latest offering weighs just slightly more than the LXE Marathon (which, to be fair, isn’t a true tablet) at 2.7 pounds.

The phrase “rugged” often brings to mind bulky products only useful in the enterprise or military worlds. General Dynamics makes no bones about the fact that they’re tying to market this tablet as a product that bridges the gap between rugged and commercial with its Windows operating system and a touchscreen that works in the same fashion as the tablets sold in electronic stores to consumers.

According to Mark Johnston, director of Strategic Computing Solutions of General Dynamics Itronix, “The GD3015 pairs ruggedness with a Windows-based operating system so budget-constrained IT managers have a computing solution that is easy to deploy, minimizes training costs for users and leverages existing software and operating system configurations.”

Key features of the GD3015 include:

  • Shock, vibration, rain, sand and dust resistant
  • 10.4-inch, sunlight viewable, high-resolution touch-screen that works even with gloves on
  • Security chip and user authentication software
  • WWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS options
  • 10 input/output interface options
  • Three-year warranty

The GD3015 starts at $2,400, putting it in between the CL900 and Xplore’s DMSR (which costs twice as much).