Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mobile Computer Terminals: A Closer Look At Form Factors

Mobile Computers come in numerous designs and form factors to meet the ergonomic needs for many jobs and situations.
There are three main form factors categories:
  • Handhelds
  • Wearables
  • Vehicle Mounts

Handheld Terminals

A handheld mobile computer is ergonomically designed to be held by the user. Some of the many options include:

  • A choice of scan engine options (laser scanner, imager or camera for scanning barcodes)
  • A touchscreen for ease of use.
  • A number of different keypad configurations available ranging from simple PIM keypads to 53 key full alphanumeric keypads.
  • Optional snap on devices that support a Mag Stripe Reader, GPS radio, RFID snap on or Cable Attachment Modules.
  • Personal attachment options such as wrist straps and holsters for both hip and shoulder.
Handheld mobile computers are compact and easy to carry.
Many solutions may require add on items to accommodate printing or credit card transactions. Some mobile computers have optional snap on devices that support a Mag Stripe Reader, GPS radio, RFID snap on or Cable Attachment Modules.
Gun style handhelds:
Ergonomically best for scan intensive applications such as warehousing and back room inventory
Brick style handhelds:
Best for mostly data entry with a light scanning. Often seen in field service, route accounting and retail
Enterprise PDAs:
Compact form factor that incorporates WWAN communications and GPS, combining multiple devices into a single platform

Wearable Terminals

  • Freedom of movement to perform barcode reading tasks quickly, safely and comfortably
  • Wrist mounted or waist mounted with ring scanner
  • Key based, pen based (touch screen) or both
  • Hands-free wearable data collection
Wearable mobile computers are designed to allow the user to be able to use their hands to be able to perform other tasks, and be able to perform barcode reading tasks quickly, safely and comfortably. These units are mounted either on the wrist or waist, with a scanner that is worn on a finger or back of hand. The computer often has a keypad for data entry and a touchscreen for running applications.

Vehicle Mount Terminals

  • Works with all forklifts (propane, gasoline and electric)
  • Some designed for automobile use instead of forklifts
  • Extremely rugged and shock tested
  • Touch screen or full/compact keyboard options
  • Peripheral ports for external scanners and/or printers
  • Vehicle terminals support Win Mobile, Win CE and Win XP OS
Vehicle mount computers are designed to be used in vehicles such as forklifts, automobile, and trucks. They are built to be extremely rugged and tested against industry vibration standards. VMCs often have touchscreens and a variety of keyboard options for data entry. They have more real estate for dedicated peripheral ports for external scanners or printers. A variety of operating system options exist, such as Windows Mobile, CE and Windows XP.

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