By Brian Albright, Field Technologies magazine
When it comes to line-of-business applications in the field, enterprise IT departments have typically had to choose between specialized rugged mobile computers (which will last longer, but are more expensive) and consumer-style mobile PDAs or smartphones (which are cheaper, but may have high replacement rates). In many applications, there is no choice, because harsh environments dictate a highly rugged computer,
but for many field sales or "gray-collar" applications, the selection process can be challenging.
Now rugged device manufacturers have rolled out new semi-rugged devices that incorporate smartphone-like design features, along with built-in bar code scanning and a
slightly less rugged enclosure. "Semi-rugged devices provide more durability than commercial- grade smartphones, and the cost of these devices is typically less than fully rugged
mobile computers," says Joe DeWenter, principle product manager at Intermec.