Even if you take a step back and consider the Nomad without your hardhat on, you'll most likely be impressed. Under the hood, an impressively quick 806MHz Marvell processor drives things along at admirable pace and there's a reasonable 128MB quota of RAM onboard plus a generous 1GB of flash storage built in.
Expansion potential is good too, with a Type II CompactFlash slot and SD card slot under a sealed and screw-secured top cap, and full-size and mini-USB sockets on the base of the unit. Just make sure you blow the sand out before you attach to the latter because they're not protected with any form of flap or cover.
And, needless to say, there's a whole raft of extras and options you can use to expand the Nomad's capabilities. Bluetooth comes as standard, as does wireless 802.11b/g and, of course, an integrated GPS receiver. If you've got your own CompactFlash accessories that you want to use and these don't quite fit under the cap, TDS has thoughtfully designed an extended version.
There's an option for a camera, in case you need a photographic reference from a field visit. You can also fit it with a battery pack that will take AAs - for those times when you just can't get to a plug socket - and it can be specified with a laser bar code reader - ideal for all those courier drops in the wild reaches of northern Siberia, or simply if you're a butcher who wants to do a stock take over Wi-Fi from inside your walk-in freezer.
The Nomad is no ordinary PDA. It's built like the proverbial brick outhouse and can take a hell of a lot of abuse. The screen is the most vulnerable area, but the odd scratch doesn't stop it working and, more importantly, it doesn't crack under pressure. It's also the most expensive PDA I've ever seen at over a grand, plus it's heavy at nearly 600g and very bulky. But if your business has a need for a tough piece of technology that'll work outdoors without seizing up, or your staff work in extreme environments, it fits the bill nicely.
Now, where did that blowtorch get to?