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Handhelds Hardware

Census Bureau Wants 500,000 Handhelds in 2010 124

Posted by michael
from the unnatural-acts dept.
andori writes: "ComputerWorld is reporting that the Census Bureau is wanting to conduct the 2010 Census without the use of paper. They want to use 500,000 handhelds with GPS and wireless communications abilities. And they want to do it for $100 an unit. I sure hope the industry is able to that price point some day! I will personally take a few if they do."
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Census Bureau Wants 500,000 Handhelds in 2010

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  • Hopefully (Score:2, Interesting)

    by red5 (51324) <gired5&gmail,com> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @03:43AM (#3172376) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully they don't save the data in a proprietary format. Thus rendring the data useless by 2015. Like say domesday [slashdot.org]. :)
  • by nurightshu (517038) <rightshu@cox.net> on Saturday March 16, 2002 @04:10AM (#3172423) Homepage Journal

    Every day, our drivers use their DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) IIIs to track the millions of packages delivered and picked up. They're wireless, but in the event that they're out of RF range, the information is buffered and then re-transmitted by the DIAD Vehicle Adapter (DVA), which also provides trickle charge capabilities. If all else fails, the DIAD can transfer its batch at the end of the day when it's placed in its cradle at the center.

    We don't currently have GPS in the DIAD III, but the prototype DIAD IVs (which run on PocketPC 2002...ugh) do. They'll not only give drivers who lose their way directions to the next delivery destination, they will also broadcast their location back to the center, which will allow center supervisors and managers to determine more efficient driving routes and coverage areas.

  • by Jonavin (71006) on Saturday March 16, 2002 @04:12AM (#3172427) Homepage
    ... the price will drop by 2009.

    Samsung SPH-i330 [samsungelectronics.com]
  • So what they're really saying is:

    We want to give a $50,000,000 dollar contract to a company that can provide 500,000 rugged, easy to use, long lasting (14 hours of active use per charge minimum), PDAs with GPS and wireless communications.

    That should be relatively simple, if they use a free OS. They don't need to be color, though it might help. They do need to be very easily visible. The display can be a larger 1/4 vga screen, which should be much less expensive to make than the current color PDA screens.

    So, let's see... About twice as thick as an IPAQ, and about as wide and long as the old newtons. It wouldn't need to be a real computer, so you could go with only flash to hold the (optional) OS and program code with a compactflash slot for long term storage. The GPS unit will cost $10-15 in quantity, as will the GSM (or APRS, or 802.11b ;-). The LCD, touchscreen and battery will cost $30-40 together, and the processor, mainboard, and all associated electronics will be another $10-20. The enclosure will be maybe $5. Cheap labor would be $1-5.

    Cost each unit:$56 - 80. The R&D (as well as breathing room for unexpected problems) would soak up the last $44-20.

    This could be done in two years, including the development of software that is easily configurable to make census forms and input, enable the communications across the network, etc.

    At the high end, it would leave $10,000,000 for the company doing the development, equivilant to 40 salaried employees for five years at $50,000/yr (yes, some would be more, a few would be less, but the dev time should be less than 3 years, and fewer than 40 employees are needed.) If the company doing the work generalizes the PDA enough(maybe adding local networking to the national networking, etc) then they could sell additional units to other customers. Hobbyists would pay a little for it, but it would mostly stay in the corporate sector.

    That's my bid. I estimate about one year to get the company up and running, one year R&D, two years active development, one year for a limited test run, one year for a production run and distribution, and two years breathing room. The software will allow full remote updating, real time statistics collection, we'll engineer the systems needed to run the entire show, and contract the necessary infrastructure for the wireless data collection.

    -Adam

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