In today’s fast-paced world that relies on cutting-edge technology, businesses need to be flexible in order to thrive in their dynamic environments. This includes staying connected, working from remote locations, and giving employees the tools to remain productive in the field. The Mobile Computer is the device that makes it all possible.
Even though these devices have been around for nearly four decades, many people still don’t understand what they do. So, what exactly are mobile computers, and why do many companies now depend on them?
- What is a Mobile Computer?
- How to Use a Mobile Computer?
- The Top Mobile Computers of 2021
- Benefits of Mobile Computers
- Picking the Right Mobile Computer for Your Company
- Inside the OS
- How Are Mobile Computers Different From Barcode Scanners
- Breeze Through Your Business Operations
- Contact Energy Electronics for a Bulk Quote
What is a Mobile Computer?
Mobile computers (also known as portable data terminals and portable data collectors) are devices that aren’t physically constrained to a data center or desktop. They allow users to access, input and process key data from just about any location. As a result, they can complete complex office tasks without being tethered to a desk computer.
Consumer mobile devices – such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets – have helped business owners stay in touch with their staff when they’re working away from the office. Mobile Computers are more ideal for work conditions and large scale operations due to their extreme durability, integrated scanning abilities, and connecting accessories.
Businesses have been using mobile computers for about 40 years, though the products have evolved over time. They have completely taken over the communications industry owing to their exceptional functionality and user-friendly design. Today, you can find them all around the world, across multiple industries, providing digital content access anytime and from anywhere.
As the name suggests, mobile computers are exceptionally portable, and most of them can fit in a pocket. For many companies, these mobile solutions are key to their organization’s growth since they allow employees to communicate in real-time from wherever they’re needed, and do so effortlessly. Plus, some of them are so powerful that they can perform the same operations as a laptop or desktop computer seamlessly.
How to Use a Mobile Computer?
Many mobile computers come with built-in apps that provide users with quick access to information and the ability to make decisions on the go. For instance, they can check out upcoming tasks, submit approval requests, access operational reports, get notifications about specific events, etc. Many devices also have programs that can scan barcodes, enabling users to capture and analyze valuable business information quickly.
You can use mobile computers for the following operations:
- Delivery monitoring
- Inventory management
- Field services
- Asset tracking
- Attendance tracking
Mobile computers are especially valuable for fieldwork. By combining scanning and PC functions into one package that can include custom or off-the-shelf software applications, your team members can efficiently perform their everyday tasks remotely. Additionally, the devices run on well-established operating systems (e.g., Android, Windows, and Linux), ensuring enough functionality to carry out operations you’d typically associate with desktop computers.
The Top Mobile Computers of 2021
Here are some of the handiest features of mobile computers:
- Secure access to databases or programs stored in your office or cloud using state-of-the-art Wi-Fi settings, such as 802.11 a/b/g/n
- High-speed WWAN or WLAN networks, such as 3.5G EVDO/CDMA or 4G HSPA+
- Card slots for adding extra memory
- GPS capabilities for accurately pinpointing the location of assets and employees
- Bluetooth connectivity for easy synchronization with headsets, printers, and modems, etc.
- Integrated cellular services in some cases
These are our favorite mobile computers:
Honeywell Dolphin CT60
The Honeywell CT60 ranks among the top-tier mobile computers. It is rugged, long-lasting and lightweight- and it has Android update ability through Android 12. That means that for as long as your CT60 lasts (and that will be a while), you will have incredible software updates, with access to enhanced applications and faster work-times as it updates.
The CT60 also has a built-in scanner that works on both 1D and 2D barcodes, a 13MP rear camera, and up to 512GB of Flash Memory using an external SSD card.
The Getac T800 is a rugged tablet that works extremely well as a mobile computer. It is larger than other devices, but the screen size is 8.1 inches- considerable for a lightweight device. Although the T800 does not have a built-in scanner, it does have a scanning accessory add-on option, and can scan barcodes 6ft + away.
The T800 runs on Windows 10, and has a full array of business-ready apps that require little training and are simple to navigate. What makes this device really great is the add on options: as well as a barcode scanner, the T800 can add a Snap-Back battery extension for longer life, a magnetic swipe reader for taking payments, a SmartCard reader and more.
The Benefits of Mobile Computing
Mobile computers provide significant benefits to any company:
- Location flexibility – Your team can work from any location without being constrained to fixed positions, provided there’s a stable connection.
- Time-saving functionality – Due to location flexibility, your employees won’t waste time traveling from one location to another to input data. Apart from saving time, this also reduces unnecessary travel expenses.
- Greater productivity – By removing location and time constraints, your team can work productively whenever and wherever. In addition, executives can also make informed decisions quickly since they can access data in real-time.
- Effortless research – In conventional settings, users need to go into the field, search for information, then return to the office to input it into the system. But with mobile devices at hand, researchers can obtain and upload data in real-time without wasting time with unnecessary travel.
- Streamlined business processes – Appropriate measures are taken to ensure authorization and authentication of the users accessing your company’s network through mobile computers. Secure links allow the user to safely conduct business operations. Accurate and efficient data collection and processing reduces errors and streamlines operations.
- Outstanding durability – Some items can remain fully functional in harsh environments because they’re designed to endure heavy impact. This reduces total costs of ownership and reduces the frequency at which equipment must be replaced.
Picking the Right Mobile Computer for Your Company
Finding a mobile device that perfectly meets your organization’s needs can drastically improve workplace productivity. Your workers’ speed and accuracy can rise significantly, and they can perform more tasks in the field. However, the mobile computer market is vast, and choosing the right item can be incredibly challenging.
Before you make a purchase, here are some of the key questions to consider:
- What employee functions or business processes will gain from a mobile computing device?
- What applications will support your business processes or the team members using them?
- Will your mobile computer require barcode scanning capabilities?
- What connectivity options do your operations require?
- What operating system do you prefer?
- Will you be using the device in harsh environments, moisture, dust, etc.?
Also, depending on your needs, you might need different kinds of mobile computers for different company teams. Some mobile computers come with a gun grip to make scanning easier, while some are available in full-size or phone-size dimensions. Here’s a brief overview of the most common mobile computer types:
- Handheld devices – Compact, yet durable mobile computers that offer organizational knowledge on the road by combining processing and scanning functions into one package.
- Wearable devices – Wearable mobile computers feature optimized voice technology that facilitates goods selection, packaging, and shipping.
- Vehicle-mounted – These devices can be attached to various industrial vehicles, such as carts, forklifts, and trucks.
- Tablets – Tablets are also handheld devices that transmit data using a high-speed network. They feature the familiar functionality and design of consumer tablets, but they are just as sturdy as pocket-sized business scanning devices.
- Smartphones – These small devices come equipped with cellular, scanning, and processing functionality.
- Hazardous environment mobile computers – These mobile computers are designed for perilous environments with a high risk of explosions or other dangerous scenarios. They include non-incendiary and intrinsically safe devices.
It may be a good choice to consider purchasing a device that combines aspects of several different kinds of mobile computers. For instance, the Sonim RS60 or RS80 both provide tremendous versatility in an all-in-one mobile computer. They’re engineered to ultra-rugged specifications making them ideal for use in extreme conditions and are vehicle mountable for use on-the-go.
In addition, the devices include proprietary software called SonimWare, featuring a highly responsive interface that lets you optimize your control settings, feed updates to your team members, and manage device screens. App overload is limited, allowing your team to perform their field jobs more efficiently.
Meanwhile, the device restricts apps for unrelated activities, such as Facebook, YouTube, etc. Only the apps you select are accessible to your employees.
Inside the OS
Another key factor is the operating system. As previously mentioned, mobile computers use many familiar interfaces, such as Linux, Android, and Windows. Depending on your operating system, the applications and functionality will vary.
Because of this, a mobile computer that can store a large amount of data in its storage and feature outstanding RAM is a must. Plus, you’ll want a device with excellent wireless capabilities that protect your safety while browsing.
How Are Mobile Computers Different From Barcode Scanners?
Often, people confuse mobile computers with mere barcode scanners. The two devices are similar in some respects however, there are numerous differences.
Barcode scanners are only capable of capturing data, however, they cannot process or manage the information they collect. You need to connect them to a separate computing device in order to utilize the data that you’ve scanned.
While mobile computers can come with built-in barcode scanners, they can do so much more with that information, because they combine the scanner and PC in a single device.
These data entry and computing capabilities can incorporated into an existing system. While regular barcode scanners often require manual connection to a PC, mobile computers move freely using wireless settings and instantly integrate the data, all while performing real-time tasks.
Benefits of Mobile Computers over Barcode Scanners
There are many other features that set mobile computers apart from traditional barcode scanners:
- The ability to run multiple business apps at once, such as asset or inventory management program and inventory counts
- Proprietary technology to ensure accurate barcode scanning
- Functional keypads – such as a QWERTY keyboard – to accommodate manual input
- Color touchscreens with Android or Windows operating systems
- Lightweight, rugged design that provides exceptional durability in case of adverse conditions and drops
- A range of handling options, such as wearable devices and gun grips
Overall, the choice between barcode scanners and mobile computers boils down to the scope and size of your company. While conventional barcode scanners don’t need special drivers or software when you plug them into your computer to download info, they are extremely limited when it comes to the range of their wireless or Bluetooth connections. Unlike mobile computers, they aren’t all-encompassing – they are merely a limited tool.
On the other hand, mobile computers can perfectly suit large companies that require low-maintenance and high-volume scanning in any conditions. Whether you’re involved in large-scale retail, logistics, manufacturing, or warehousing, mobile computers are definitely a better choice, due to their ability to perform an array of tasks simultaneously, from any location. For example, you can manage your inventory without returning to your desktop computer to input information after each scan.
Some models even feature simultaneous 1D/2D scanning capabilities owing to their terrific scan engines.
Breeze Through Your Business Operations
Mobile computers can be an invaluable addition to your organization. The devices are ideal for a fast-paced working environment, offer seamless communication, and can be a cost-cutting feature.
The Honeywell RS60, with an Operating System of Android 10, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and 32GB of Flash memory, may just be the right choice for you.
Reach out to us to get a quote for bulk orders and for more information on the best mobile computer solutions for your work force.
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