rugged mobile computers

Posted November 4, 2015 / By admin / 0 Comment

Android Rugged Mobile Computers in the Enterprise

“Does your company allow Android within the enterprise?”  Eighteen months ago, this was the first question asked when showing new Android rugged mobile computers.  Recently, however, Android rugged mobile computers are becoming a topic of the past.  In the last few months, Bar Code Direct has provided customers in different vertical markets rugged Android devices for mission critical applications.  The two largest manufacturers in the enterprise mobility space are providing all of their new devices in Android variants – sometimes even without a Windows offering on that platform which leaves their competitors looking to follow suit in order to keep pace with demand.  More and more the Android Operating System is becoming the new enterprise standard with devices being designed and built with large touch screen displays and no physical keypad.  This has helped propel the Android platform and enterprise users are readily adopting them.

Bar Code Introduces the TC70 to Its Customers

Bar Code Direct has provided customers who were using older Windows Mobile devices (with small displays and long physical keypads) with modern, easy to use Zebra’s TC70s, and it has made all the difference.  Sure, their old devices were functional and rugged, but the small display, the unnecessary keys, and the slow performance was not a match for their growing list of web-based applications.  All in all, these devices were becoming exponentially antiquated.  Their use was in warehouses, where they distributed auto parts directly to their end-user customers.  Speed, accuracy, and efficiency are always critical, especially when sending your product directly to the end-user who purchased on the web and has many companies from which to choose.

Why Choose the TC70?

The TC70 was chosen for many reasons including, but not limited to, its slick design, large display, modular gun handle, light weight, ruggedness, and, most of all, performance.  In a nutshell, the application streamed on the Android platform and browser, and the display refresh was instantaneous.  The popup keypad is more than enough for their limited keystroke needs, and the ergonomics make the device very easy to use.  The devices are locked down with Enterprise Home Screen, and are managed by our online remote management program, SOTI, so security is a non-issue.  And they can also run a push-to-talk application which adds to the warehouse workers efficiency.  The old devices weren’t even that old, but in a highly competitive marketplace, every advantage adds up to higher profits, so the capital spend was more than justified.

TC70s in Healthcare

Another new user of the Android TC70 is a hospital in New England.  They were also using Windows Mobile devices that were considered okay for a variety of reasons – small and crowded keyboard buttons, decent at-best application performance, average user interface.  A lot of users these days have pretty modern personal cell phones whether it be an iPhone or an Android device, and the enterprise rugged mobile computers are showing their age.  With the implementation of a new supply chain application, it was time to consider new mobile devices, and Android was the preferred choice.  Like the auto parts example above, the new application is web-based, so speed and performance were critical.  As with all hospitals, security was a big concern, and IT was not going to allow these new devices on the network until it was proven that they passed their requirements.  With the lock-down software Enterprise Home Screen in place and SOTI to manage them, IT was satisfied that they were secure enough for their network.  The users were the next hurdle, and the device passed that test in flying colors.  They loved the way it felt in their hands, and the large bright display and rugged feel made them extremely comfortable using it.  The application performed great and they were easy to deploy.

MC40s in Healthcare

Bar Code Direct is also working with a retail healthcare company in upgrading their Windows Mobile devices to Android – in this case, Zebra’s MC40.  The new application is far more robust and the benefits to the company are far greater than ever before.  Android made a lot of sense from many vantage points – application development, performance, and user interface being the chief among them.  The MC40 is the right form-factor for the users as it is light, small, and has a beautiful display that will be familiar to users right out of the box.  Zebra’s specific Android flavor also implemented various security extensions which helped greatly in satisfying IT’s requirements and concerns.  More to come on this use case.

Android is Here to Stay

It’s not just the new devices that are being designed with Android – even legacy mobile computers in scan-intensive applications like inventory in a warehouse or shelf-price-audit in a retail store are being released with Android as an option.  Windows Mobile devices are not going away – it is still supported for a few more years and Microsoft will likely have a newer solution going forward – but Android is here to stay and getting stronger and stronger in the Enterprise Rugged Mobile Computer marketplace, and Bar Code Direct is providing mission-critical solutions across our vertical segments.