System ID / Mobile Computers
To capture data on-the-go, you need a computer that travels with you. At System ID, we have a wide selection of mobile scanners. Along with traditional mobile computers—which include handheld, wearable, and vehicle-mounted devices— manufacturers offer enterprise tablets that are rugged and durable. + Show More
Also known as compact mobile computers, these devices are generally very small and, as their name suggests, are limited in their functionality. Entry level mobile computers are reliant on the keypad for data entry and often come with very basic software applications such as inventory control. These devices usually have a DOS operating system, so they can access Windows-based applications or use a graphical interface.
Entry level mobile computers are typically used in applications where the user needs slightly more functionality than a barcode scanner can offer, such as needing the ability to enter in a quantity after a barcode is scanned. These devices are most often used in batch mode, although, some of them have Bluetooth or even 802.11 capabilities.
Honeywell Dolphin 6100
Field service mobile computers are small and lightweight like a PDA or Smartphone, but have the features of high end mobile computers. Also known as pen-based mobile computers, these devices feature a Windows operating system and the ability to load software on to the device itself. Data entry and manipulation is done through the touch screen with a stylus as the name “pen-based” suggests.
Field service mobile computers are most often used outside the four walls by field service technicians where the ability to be connected at all times is necessary. These devices have wireless connectivity options and many of them have the option of cellular antennas, thus making them a cell phone as well as a mobile computer.
Honeywell Dolphin 6000
These rugged devices are large and durable; some of them can even be submerged in water. Industrial or key-based mobile computers are manipulated through the keypad, but also feature a large touch screen. They have multiple scanner options including 2D and long range laser. They also have several keypad options such as numeric and QWERTY.
Industrial mobile computers come in two form factors: Gun or Brick. The brick style mobile computers are used most often by offsite workers much in the same way as the field mobility or pen-based mobile computers. The gun style mobile computer is most often seen in the warehouse, where the “pistol grip” handle makes scanning easier in applications where a lot of scanning is being done.
Datalogic Falcon X3
As their name suggests, tablet/mounted mobile computers are mounted to a forklift or some other type of vehicle. They are basically computers that run off of the vehicle’s power source. These computers almost always have a wireless antenna and are generally navigated through a touch screen, although, some have a keyboard option.
Tablet/mounted mobile computers are extremely rugged and are used in the warehouse. Often a barcode scanner is used along with the device for data entry.
Picking a mobile computer can be confusing. There are so many options and variables to consider. That being said, mobile computers are very useful and provide the user a lot more flexibility than using a standard barcode scanner. When choosing a mobile computer there are many things to take into account, such as: operating system, scan engine, key pad, durability, etc., but perhaps most important is your application and the type of mobile computer you need.
There are four different types of mobile computers, and each of them has specific applications for which they are best suited. The four types of mobile computers are: entry level or compact, field mobility or pen-based, industrial or key-based, and forklift/tablet style mobile computers.
A mobile computer, also called a portable data collector and portable data terminal (PDT), in its most basic form is a barcode scanner with a display and an operating system. In fact, a lot of people will call a mobile computer a barcode scanner.
The difference is a barcode scanner has to be linked to a host computer to pass on the scanned information. A mobile computer, on the other hand, acts as its own host. You can upload your program or database directly on to the device so that updates and edits can be made while scanning on the go.
Barcode scanners vary in form factor, interface, and scan engine, and they all have specific applications and environments for which they are better suited. While scanner form factor and interface are important, nothing differentiates one scanner from another like the scan engine.
Another distinguishing feature of mobile computers is that they have an actual operating system, such as Windows. This allows you to do anything you would be able to do on a PC on your mobile computer. Mobile computers also support many options that a barcode scanner does not, such as wireless 802.11 communication, cellular, terminal emulation, camera, GPS, touch screens, and keypads.
Mobile computers are highly customizable and vary in size and shape depending on the environment. They range from rugged and bulky to light and compact. They can be held like a cell phone or be equipped with a pistol grip. Mobile computers can have three keys, or they can have up to 56 keys. What is needed in a mobile computer is up to the user and the application. There are even mobile computers that attach to forklifts.
Finally, a mobile computer’s required accessories are sold separately, unlike a barcode scanner which usually has the basic accessories in the box. You will need a charging cradle to charge the device, as well as a communication cable for it to talk with a computer. You will need a power supply and line cord to power the cradle, and sometimes you will even need to purchase the battery separate. There are also carrying cases and screen guards to protect the device. With so many accessories, it is best to consult with a professional to see what is needed for a specific device in your application.
Mobile computers are a portable, handheld extension of a PC or laptop. Just about anything you can do on a PC, you can also do on your mobile computer. In most cases, they come with a Windows operating system complete with Microsoft Word, Excel and Internet Explorer.
On top of the preloaded software, mobile computers have the ability to be loaded with other, secondary software. Meaning, if you have a software program, such as inventory control, you can load it on to the mobile device and use that software just as you would on the PC. With one mobile device, you can scan items and update the database right there instead of going back and forth to a stationary PC.
What if your software is web based? Not a problem, as many mobile computers have an 802.11 wireless radio allowing you to access the internet via your wireless infrastructure. You would access the program the same way on the mobile computers as you would on the PC.
With the option of a cellular radio, you can use your mobile computer as a cell phone. So not only do you have your necessary software on the device, but you can call into the office. The cellular radio gives you the ability to make voice calls and send data. The 3G data feature allows you to access the internet or to send an email.
Mobile computers with the cellular option are especially useful for repairmen or field service technicians. They have the ability to pull up a blueprint off a website, call into the warehouse to check on the availability of a part, and accept a customer payment with the credit card attachment. All on one device that is a little bigger than a Blackberry.
These are just a few benefits of using a mobile computer. The mobile computer is a great device that provides the convenience of a PC while being mobile. Just remember when thinking about a mobile computer that there are a lot of options and that not every mobile computer is right for every application.