By Brian Albright, Field Technologies magazine
Even for relatively low-volume bar code scanning environments, rugged devices typically provide the greater value.
For many enterprise mobile deployments, consumer-style smartphones and tablets have appeal. First, they are typically cheaper to purchase. Second, most of these units benefit from processing power and speed that match or surpass their rugged counterparts. If necessary, you can even make them more rugged with special cases. But there’s one area where these devices consistently fall short, even in environments that may not require rugged: bar code scanning.
Consumer-grade devices scan and decode very slowly, and can make it difficult to scan in low or poor lighting. Any motion on the part of the user can make it difficult to scan the bar code, and these devices have a limited ability to decode slightly damaged or oddly colored codes. “Consumer-grade smartphones typically require that an end user open a bar code scanning application, properly align the bar code to be scanned in the view window, hold the smartphone still enough to capture the image of the bar code, and then wait for the bar code to be decoded,” says Jay Lauer, marketing manager at Opticon.