The new Microsoft Windows Vista-based C5 Tablet PC for health care workers from Motion Computing is the epitome of mobile computing. It even has a handle to help docs and nurses on the go carry it around. Its bevy of wireless features is missing one spicy ingredient, though.Yes, you guessed it: 3G wireless data. There's a good reason for that, though, and I'll forgive them because it has just about everything else you can think of.
The C5 was so named for the clinical applications for which it will be used, as well as the five rights of patient medication (right patient, time, medication, dose, and route). It comes with a single core Intel Centrino processor (1.2 GHz), 802.11a/b/g, half a meg of RAM, and a 30-Gbyte hard drive. Other features include optional bar code scanners, RFID readers, and a 2.0 megapixel camera. Yes, you read that correctly, a digital camera on the tablet itself. The lovely marketing shots on Motion's Web site show us a nurse using the C5 to take a picture of some poor chap's swollen ankle for his medical records. The 10.4-inch LCD has a very wide angle of view and the entire tablet weighs a mere 3 pounds.
Motion took security seriously with the new piece of hardware. The C5 comes with an integrated fingerprint reader and the RFID reader can be used to authenticate the device if used with an RFID-enabled name badge.
According to Motion, they interviewed scores of medical professionals about their daily computer usage and devised the C5 to meet every conceivable need. Based on the spec list, they seem to have done a good job.
Now, back to the 3G for an instant. Cell phones are banned from most health facilities, and often get very poor reception inside hospitals and doctor's offices. Including an embedded 3G data modem is rather pointless because the probability that it can be used effectively is low, given the poor signals available.
The built-in Wi-Fi radios will be enough for most medical professionals to get through the day and still access the Internet, intranet, and any internal electronic medical records systems they might have.
Pricing for the C5 starts at a hefty $2,199. Still, for medical professionals who are constantly on the go, it's a solid performer.