Harris Corp. [HRS] has introduced its first tablet, the RF-3590,  bringing a “smart-phone-like” experience developed for soldiers on the tactical edge, and applicable to homeland security personnel, all of whom require secure, real-time information, company officials said.

The Harris RF-3590 is a 7-inch rugged Android™ tablet. It integrates into the most advanced military and public safety communication platforms, including the Harris Falcon III® wideband tactical radio networks and 3G and 4G LTE Solutions.

The tablet provides suites of mission-critical software applications (apps); and supports emerging requirements for video, monitoring position locations, accessing secure databases and other crucial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.

Harris has initial orders for the tablet for test and evaluation. The tablet also will be part of the  Army’s Network Integration Evaluation 13.1, incorporated as part of a system solution, said Jim White, product manager for the Harris tablet.  

“The new Harris tablet builds on our leadership in mission-critical communications to provide a powerful device for processing mission-critical information,’’ said Dana Mehnert, group president, Harris RF Communications. “This tablet was fully designed for the tactical and public safety environment with optimized features for reading in sunlight and size, weight and power. As an Android device, the tablet also is fully upgradeable for emerging applications.”

White said the company took a look at various form factors and found that the 7-inch display was “optimal for the environment” and optimal for some of the capabilities the customer is most interested in using.

For example, mapping apps that provide benefit in understanding “where they are, where their cohorts are,” and what’s in and around them.

Other features include a softkey touchpad that can be operated by someone wearing gloves, something more difficult on a smaller device.

For the warfighter, the RF-3590 leverages the military’s emerging wideband tactical radio networks and enables real-time sharing of mission-critical information across the battlespace. 

The Army is focused on developing a next-generation broadband network to bring the power of smartphones and computing to small unit soldiers on the tactical edge.

Harris is the leading provider of wideband communications through its Falcon III AN/PRC-117G manpack and Falcon III AN/PRC-152A handheld radios.

The Harris tablet is also designed to integrate with the Harris Falcon Networking System an end-to-end system for connecting individual warfighters to the tactical cloud.

Not only a network peripheral, the tablet RF-3590 also offers stand-alone computing power. It comes with built-in cameras, an accelerometer, digital compass, pressure and temperature gauges, gyroscope, proximity/ambient light sensors and more. It also includes standard USB and Ethernet data interfaces and expansion capabilities. The tablet is built around a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and supports up to 128 GB of internal non-volatile memory.

White said the open architecture and android operating system have features such as processing and memory and unique interfaces integrated into the package that allows the tablet to be sustained, perhaps longer than traditional commercial tablets, but they both use similar, available technology.

“If you develop your app for the Android operating environment,” White said, “We expect it would be compatible with our tablet.”

Harris tries to lead the way in bringing capability as quickly as possible to meet customer needs.

Harris sees “a variety of paths” forward in the market place. There is opportunity through contract vehicles, White said, for rugged tablet applications in various harsh environments. Already, there has been interest in the device, including from potential international customers.