Motorola has launched a new version of its highly successful MC9000 enterprise digital assistant (EDA), that features a monocoque chassis for greater structural integrity, a comprehensive back room accessory system, modular 3.5G WAN support, and a e ink display that acts as 'fuel guage' for the battery.

"We are a world leader in enterprise mobility," said Marco Landi, the general manager for enterprise mobility solutions, EMEA, speaking during the product launch of the MC9500 in Paris on Tuesday. He went to explain that the MC9500 is a result of the combination of the respective strengths of both Motorola and Symbol Technologies, which it acquired back in 2006.

"The MC9500 is going to be a game changer," said Paul Reed, EMEA product marketing manager for mobile computing. "Design teams spent a long time talking to customers about the MC9000, and the feedback was incorporated into the MC9500. "One of the key philosophies is its one handed operation, with a selection of user interchangeable keypads (alphanumeric, alphabetic, convential phone keypads etc)."

The MC9500 is highly rugged thanks to its monocoque design, and also comes with modular 3.5 WAN. The user themselves can either select to use WiFi (for internal deployments such as a warehouse), or can opt for either GSM HSDPA and CDMA-EVDO Rev, without having to return the device to Motorola.

The MC9500 also comes with interactive sensor technology, which allows its motion-sensing capabilities to detect and log when it has been dropped, so that management can see how the device is being treated by employees.

The device includes a 3 megapixel camera that can be used as a scanner or image-capturing device for reading one- or two-dimensional bar codes. Strangely, a RFID reader is not provided at this time, although according to product manager Kristy Lupis, this should appear sometime during 2010.

GPS is also provided, along with 802.11a/b/g support, including voice over wireless so that field service agents can use it to communicate with the back office if need be. There is also microSD slot supports up to 32GB of expansion storage.

The device itself measures 9.2 by 3.5 by 2 inches in size and weighs 22 oz. It comes with a 3.7 inch color touch display which sits above the keyboard. A lithium battery provides eight hours of talk time and 150 hours of standby time. When the device is placed faced down, it goes into sleep mode.

On the back of the device is a handy e ink display that shows the current charge remaining in the battery so service personnel can quickly establish whether they have enough charge remaining in the device for their shift. Motorola told Techworld that this display draws no power at all from the battery.

The MC9500 runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and has a Marvell XScale PXA320 processor that performs at 806MHz.

According to Lupis, pricing for the MC9500 will be between $2,495 (£1,513) to $3,295, depending on the configuration chosen by the user. Production of the MC9500, which was launched way back in September 2003, will meanwhile continue for the next 12 months.

During the launch, Landi reassured the audience over the performance of Motorola's enterprise unit, which is responsible for its range of ruggised handsets. He said it is cash flow positive, at a time when the future of Motorola's consumer handset division remains uncertain.