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Alien Technology Releases Slim Tag, Windows Mobile RFID Handhelds mobile_rfid

The SlimLine passive EPC UHF inlay, designed for applications such as tagging a book's spine, is the company's skinniest tag to date; the new ALH-9010 and ALH-9011 readers operate on Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 25, 2012For RFID tag users unable to find a passive EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag slim enough for their particular applications, Alien Technology has released a possible solution. The SlimLine tag (ALN-9745), available as a dry inlay (without an adhesive layer) or as a wet inlay, is intended to be slender enough to place in a book's spine or along the side of a mobile phone. The dry inlay includes alignment targets (dots on either side of the antenna, used by some inlay-converting machines to optically align RFID die), but if the targets are unnecessary, they may be ignored, thereby reducing the inlay's length from 5.8 millimeters (0.23 inch) down to 3.05 millimeters (0.12 inch). The dry inlay's width is 94.0 millimeters (3.7 inches). The wet inlay (which includes a lower layer of adhesive and an overlay made of thermal transfer printable white film) measures 9.0 millimeters by 97.2 millimeters (0.35 inches by 3.83 inches).

The SlimLine inlay, released this week, is currently being tested by companies in North America, Asia and Europe. Simultaneously, Alien is releasing the next generation of its ALH-9000 series handheld readers. The new handhelds, models ALH-9010 and ALH-9011, operate with Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system for mobile phones. Alien's first handhelds, the ALH-9000 and ALH-9001 models—launched in April 2011 (see Alien Technology Announces New IC, Handheld Readers and Inlays)—employ the Windows CE 5.0 operating system (Alien will continue to offer CE versions).

Alien Technlogy's SlimLine EPC Gen 2 passive RFID inlay (ALN-9745) is made with a Higgs-4 chip, which supports 128 bits of EPC and user memory.
The release of the new tag and readers, says Neil Mitchell, Alien Technology's director of marketing, reflects continued growth in the RFID market, as well as the company's commitment to the products it sells—namely, the ALH series handhelds and the Higgs-4 chip, used in the SlimLine tag.

The SlimLine inlay is designed for end users that, until now, have had a hard time fitting UHF tags to the items they wish to track. The new solution aims to enable the tagging of books, pharmaceutical packets, cigarette packs and other narrow items. Customers are already testing the tags, Mitchell says, including a company in Asia that, as a test, applied the tags to every page of a book and then read the closed book, thereby capturing all of the tag IDs. "The tags are providing very high performance," he states, noting that the Higgs-4 chip typically provides a read range of about 33 feet (10 meters).

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