‘We call it the old workhorse’: The Archer Field PC still doesn’t miss a beat

Archer Field PC

In 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7 and two entrepreneurs launched a small ride-hailing startup called UberCab. It was also the year Mike Jablonski received the Archer Field PC, which was released in 2006.

It’s been nearly a decade since Jablonski got his hands on the Archer. Today, Windows 10 usage is set to overtake Windows 7, Uber is targeting a $120 billion IPO, and Jablonski has used the Archer “many, many, many times” and “as recently as last week,” he said. “It works just like the day we got it. We call it the old workhorse. It has treated us very, very well.”

The world has changed. However, the Archer is dependable even as repair services end for the device at the onset of 2019.

Jablonski and his business partner, Cindy Johnson, own NR Systems, a Logan-based biological and environmental consulting firm founded in 1990. The firm specializes in wetland delineation and mitigation, which is work to identify wetland boundaries and offset human-caused impacts to vital wetlands. NR Systems recently used the Archer for a rare plant survey. The company created track logs with the Archer’s GPS to document the work.

Jablonski said that over the past nine years he and Johnson have subjected the Archer to extremely harsh conditions. “We’ve raked it through muck and mud,” he added.

“There’s no indication it’s going to fail,” Jablonski said. “We’re really impressed at how well it has performed over nine years in all seasons. It has exceeded expectations for longevity.”

Archer Field PC review

Nate Holman, one of the engineers behind the Archer, said it was designed that way.

“The primary goal was to design the most rugged handheld yet,” Holman said. “Durability and reliability are two things we really thought about. It’s not about one drop to concrete – but drop after drop after drop. It can survive a lot of abuse.”

Juniper Systems gifted the Archer to NR Systems after the firm volunteered to test Juniper Systems’ Everglade software, a wetland delineation application that collected data and automated forms from the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Early on, NR Systems upgraded the Archer with the Hemisphere GPS XF101 receiver, which delivered sub-meter GPS and real-time, post-processed position data on the Archer. Otherwise, Jablonski said, the standard Archer exemplified the essential features required for field data collection.

“Reliability is No. 1,” Jablonski said. “Then long battery life in the field, easy-to-swap batteries, and easy-to-charge batteries.” He added that the Archer’s reliability, ruggedness, and ergonomic shape make it stand out.

Behind the ergonomics of the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet

“It’s really easy to hold in one hand,” Jablonski said. “I couldn’t possibly imagine how you could improve it.”

The Archer, rated IP67 and MIL-STD-810G, came equipped with a magnesium case and impact-absorbing rubber over molds. The Archer’s curved, ergonomic shape packed a 20-hour battery life – swappable batteries extended its running life almost indefinitely – and a sunlight readable display. It ran Windows Mobile 6.1, the foremost operating system among rugged data collectors in last decade.

With Mobile Connect, Juniper Systems continues support for Windows Mobile users

The Archer’s successor, the Archer 2 Rugged Handheld, and the rest of Juniper Systems’ rugged lineup of mobile computers and tablets were designed according to that popular mandate from its customers.

The Archer 2, Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet, and Allegro 2 Rugged Handheld are rated IP68 and MIL-STD-810G. Each device contains an all-day battery, sunlight-readable display, and possible customizations include hot-swappable batteries.

Right now, however, NR Systems uses the Archer with ArcPad and ArcGIS by Esri to do fieldwork and data management – building maps and spatial databases with points, lines, and polygons collected on the Archer. While a new device could be on the horizon for NR Systems – updating to Collector for ArcGIS is a priority for the firm – the Archer continues to turn on each workday.

“We want the products to perform,” Holman said. “They need to last long to justify the premium price and support offered by Juniper Systems, so we’ve added more value to help people get their jobs done.”

Still, Jablonski said he’s surprised by the longevity.

“We didn’t expect it to last nine years,” he said. “We’d be bummed out if it stopped working, but we’d go, ‘It sure did last a long time.’”


For more information about Juniper Systems’ lineup of rugged mobile computers and tablets, contact us here. Visit Juniper Systems online.

4 Comments

  1. Do you guys have a distributor in central California? I’d like a face to face conversation and perhaps a demo. I’m located in Visalia.

  2. Great post, Jackson. Juniper Systems has a history of awesome devices! We love the Mesa 2!

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