Portable devices are those intended to be moved regularly, but not necessarily for handheld use. Portable device design has requirements of rugged packaging, being relatively compact and lightweight, and sometimes requires battery operation. Handheld device design must ensure that the device can be comfortably held by a person and has a number of added constraints: very lightweight, intuitive to use, easily read display, button presses and touchscreen use must not be fatiguing, usually battery operated, can’t get too warm to hold, and more.
Since the year 2000, SECO USA has developed expertise in the technologies and processes required for successful portable electronic design and handheld electronic design. This includes the selection of low power, high performance, long availability embedded processors, the ability to customize circuit designs for low power and small spaces, and tweaking operating systems to accommodate these customizations.
Portable device design and handheld device design incorporates associated electronic designs into packaged products. Enclosures for these devices must be lightweight and often water-tight sealed, but they should also be able to withstand physical abuse while being ergonomic and easy to use. Tablet design is a subset of handheld device design, where the overall device is very flat and the majority of the device front contains a touchscreen display.
The combination of these factors makes the design of portable and handheld devices a niche area of expertise. To maximize success with minimal cost, short schedules, and low risk, a system engineering approach analyzes use cases and specifications within a proven design processes. Tradeoffs between hardware, software, and packaging implementation have a huge impact on the technical, financial, and production success of the product.
Portable/Handheld Design Technology Expertise:
- Low power design: selection of low power components, weight power vs performance, power-optimized circuit implementation, power gating, power/battery lifetime modeling
- Small footprint design: high component feature density, dense but robust PCB routing,
- External interfaces: wireless and wired connections to networks, sensors, and peripherals
- Displays/touchscreens: selection of components based on human requirements
- Rugged design: packaging for drop, shock, vibration, moisture, dust, extreme environments. Work with industrial designers to meet desired look, fell, and ergonomics
- Operating systems: Linux, Android, Windows, VxWorks, other RTOS. Optimize boot loader, kernel, drivers for user application support and power efficiency
- Security: mechanical, hardware, and software level security to control access, detect intrusions, and secure the device upon detection
- Remote device management: software updates (controlled by the customer), tracking, health monitoring
See SECO USA’s Design Guide for Portable Electronic Devices for additional details.
The SECO USA Advantage:
- We do as much or as little as you like: electronics only design, full device design, certification testing, manufacturing
- ITAR and US classified compliance for engineering design services and products
- Accelerated time-to-market
- Reduced risk
- Turnkey manufacturing
- Program management
- Lifecycle and obsolescence management
- In-house manufacturing test development
- Regulatory certification and qualification testing
- Long product life support