10 November 2013
We are pleased to present the following technology guides.
Mobile Computers with Barcode Scanners range from simple dedicated data collectors devices with a button to trigger the barcode reader to extremely powerful hans-held computers which come with built-in keyboards, colour touch screens and access to huge amounts of memory.
The simple dedicated data collectors typically will only read 1D barcodes and store the decoded information together with a date and time stamp. At the end of the data collection session the batch of data is downloaded to a PC by means of a cable. This is typically a USB cable which is also used to provide power to the data collector to recharge the battery. The data is downloaded as a file and is usually imported into a speadsheet.
Some of the lower cost mobile computers with keypads and touch screens work in a similar way and are generally called Batch devices.
The more expensive mobile computers communicate by wireless means. Typically 802.11 WiFi is used to communicate with other computers and Bluetooth may be available to send data to other local devices such as mobile printers. For applications which involve communication in the wider world, for example recording deliveries to customer locations services, air time services such as Edge or 3G may be used.
The integrated barcode scanners vary from those which work over short distances to long range devices. Some scanners will also read 2D barcodes and some specialist mobile computers can even read Direct Part Marked barcodes.
For in-premise wireless applications the majority of mobile computers are used to communicate directly with mainframe computers using Terminal Emulation software. This is usually provided by the manufacturer.
Other applications may involve the use of application software provided by the mobile computer manufacturer, or "apps" provided by third parties.
Alternatively the end user may use application generators such as MCL or commission Independent Software Vendors to create bespoke systems using the Software Development Kits provided by the mobile computer manufacturer.
Finally some means of recharging the mobile computer battery will be required. This may involve plugging a power supply directly into the mobile computer, or the mobile computer can be placed in a charger cradle, or the mobile phone battery can be removed and placed in a battery charger.