Bluetooth Barcode Scanning Guide

26 02 2013
Bluetooth Barcode Scanners are growing in popularity

Bluetooth Barcode Scanners are growing in popularity

Bluetooth barcode scanners are basically the barcode scanners that can connect to your tablet or rugged Handheld PDA or even a smartphone if you think that’s a good idea ;-).  They enable any mobile device whether rugged or not to have access to full retail level barcode scanning and as we’ve revised our range of scanners this month, we thought we’d do a guide on Bluetooth Barcode scanning!

Blog 1 – Today we’ll look at what they are and why you’d use one.

Blog 2 – We’ll look at the main features of using the SDK’s that come with the scanners (thank-you Socket for an excellent feature on this)

Blog 3 – we’ll update our top 5 Bluetooth Barcode Scanners with the reasons why these are in our top 5!

What are Bluetooth barcode Scanners?

Well in  nutshell they tend to come in all kinds of sizes but they’re essentially a candy bar device, with a proper barcode scanner in them, usually OEM’d from one of the major barcode scanner providers like Motorola or Intermec and they allow any PDA or tablet user to scan barcodes aggressively and efficiently.

They connect to your device via bluetooth and will send the scanned data straight back to your PDA or tablet as you scan, so you effectively have a barcode scanner in your solution.  Some offer more complex features like “batch” mode which will store the barcodes on the scanner for download later and some even handle going in and out of BT range.

Bluetooth is way better than it used to be and despite many bluetooth barcode scanners having extensive proprietary software to manage the bluetooth connection, it’s hardly needed these days.  Most scanners will connect straight out of the box, require very little setup to connect to any Windows Mobile, iPhone or  Android device and they can be used simply in “Keyboard Wedge” mode or by using the Software Development Kit that comes with them.

We’re seeing growth in bluetooth barcode scanner sales, largely driven by people using tablets where a built in scanner is often an issue.  Also as Data capture solutions based around barcodes or RFID become ever more popular real true barcode scanning, that doesn;t rely on the devices camera are sought.

So in the next blog we’ll look at the SDK that comes with the scanner, why it’s worth using and the top 10 features of them.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

DIY Rugged PDA’s – Waterproofing

22 02 2013
Is your Rugged PDA Waterpoof?

Is your Rugged PDA Waterpoof?

So today we’re continuing our challenge to see if there are any more ways we can make something non-rugged…rugged, or rugged even more rugged!  Last time we talked about drop specs, today we’re talking about waterproofing!

Water and dust protection is measured by an “IP” rating and Rugged Handheld PDA’s have always had to be at least IP54, with most being IP64/65 these days. but, we’re seeing more and more smartphones and cheaper phones coming onto the market with higher and higher IP ratings.  What gives?

The smartphone/software view!

IP ratings have never really been the issue have they?  If you walk around our repair centre here, it’s all cracked screens, damaged cases and warranty work for our South Korean brands!  You rarely see anything with water damage and those people who are in high water risk places buy something accordingly.  However it is interesting that I can also buy a Motorola Defy with IP67 for £200 but don’t.  I go camping for weeks, and use my iPhone outside so whats the problem with a non IP rated phone?

The Rugged View

I think that water and dust especially are very important to protect against and also add up to make a rugged PDA inherently more rugged.  Yes we’re seeing all kinds of change in this market with nano treatments that can make any phone waterproof for £30 but at the end of the day there’s no replacement for having a fully IP rated Rugged PDA built from the ground up.  Also we would challenge the whole IP scenario here too.  There are good PDA’s with rock solid IP ratings.  Motorola and Intermec devices for instance seem to perform well above their rated specs for IP.  Cheaper devices however might not be up to their spec.  This is why we always recommend more rugged devices if you;re working near water.  IP is important, it stops dust getting into the device over it’s years (not months) of use, it allows you to work outside with no worries and there are even rugged handheld PDA’s that can be submerged!

We’ll continue the debate next week!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

DIY Rugged PDA’s, using a case

19 02 2013
Do rugged cases really make your smarpthone rugged?

Do rugged cases really make your smartphone rugged?

We’re all about being Rugged here with Rugged Handheld PDA’s at the heart of what we do, but we also have a growing software and app solution business here who like nothing more than having the latest and greatest smartphones to play and tinker with so they challenged us Rugged hardware folk to discuss all the ways that you can make any mobile tool more rugged, rugged PDA or smartphone, Rugged Tablet or iPad!  We asked some of our customers too and we came up with a series of blogs to help you take control of your devices!

So we kick off today with…

Rugged Cases

Believe it or not but we don;t actually walk around with Motorola MC65′s as our own personal phones! we all have various smartphones, but here at RUgged and Mobile we also spend our fair share on cases to see which ones are the best.  The simple truth is that we’ve been through every otterbox, Lifeproof, ballistic, leather or nylon case there is over the years so we know the difference they can make.

The Smartphone view

The fact is they simply work.  Drop your iPhone and it breaks, drop it with a Lifeproof case on and it is fine.  What’s more, my iPhone 3GS looks like new after spending the last 2 years in a case.  Result is that my iPhone 5 now costs me £150 less because I could sell my old phone on Ebay for far more!

Cases can be waterproof too.  I’ve swam with my iPhone using the Lifeproof case and the waterproof earphones it recommends.  It really was that waterproof as long as I stayed on the surface which is remarkable.  It does make you wonder if a case can really make a difference?  I’ve also dropped my HTC one X+ many times in it’s Otterbox but it still remains beautifully new and working so why go rugged and drag about a 2 tonne brick?

The Rugged view

Cases are great, but only as an improvement to a rugged PDA or rugged tablet that has to be built rugged from the nuts and bolts up, to be truly rugged.  Also remember that to be rugged there are all sorts of other tests like parts, repair and roadmaps being available too.  However a good case will not only improve your rugged PDA’s life, it will increase its resale value, stop you dropping it, protect it from the elements better and can improve your usability of the device too.

We say cases are great, but they’re not a way of making a non rugged smartphone, truly rugged!

Tomorrow we’ll continue with IP ratings and waterproofing…

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Rugged and Mobile Sneak preview!

15 02 2013
Rugged and Mobile Sneak preview!

Rugged and Mobile Sneak preview!

We’re working really hard this week peeps so sorry about the lack of new blogs!  Thought i’d give people a sneak preview of the new website coming very soon with our brand new theme, not just in terms of colour but in what we will be delivering through our main web site..

We’re dropping a lot of products and a lot of brands so we can focus in on the best options for you, we do so much work here with new stuff that we felt that it was time to use our knowledge for our customers, not bamboozle you with everythign thats new!  We can then focus in on delivering great service on the brands that we sell, not the ones that waste yours and our time!

Don’t forget that you can talk to us on Twitter,

Also don’t forget to join us on Facebook: liking us helps us to communicate and we’ll be talking and creating all kinds of news and offers on facebook in the near future.

and if you need service or repair then our helpdesk is the place to go

and of course keep the comments and emails coming in here, we very much love to hear from anyone!

Motorola MC40 arrives in UK

11 02 2013
The Motorola MC40 brings and option to the Mobile EPOS market

The Motorola MC40 brings and option to the Mobile EPOS market

The Motorola MC40 is yet another Rugged android PDA to be launched and despite the sold off Motorola Mobile business being heavy Android advocates, it marks only Motorola Solution’s 2nd Android capable device.  A lot of Rugged manufacturers are quite sceptical about Android and the fact it’s not really designed for the mission critical business market, but needless to say, the devices keep on launching and the MC40 comes with a few USP’s that might just make a difference.

The first is the positioning of the Motorola MC40.  At first glance it looks like any other rugged android device, but look closer and you’ll find everything you need to run a mobile EPOS terminal, minus the printer.  With a Mag strip reader, PCI ready, PTT ready and with customisable bezel for colour and logo, its meant to be in the eyes of the customer and aimed at the Mobile EPOS market.  IP54 and 1.2M drop spec and no Phone/3G chip further conclude this device is aimed squarely to work within the boundaries of a WiFi signal.

So to the Motorola MC40 lets check out some one the highlights…


  • Optional, built-in Magnetic strip reader, PCI ready.
  • 2D built-in barcode scanner.
  • Motorola PTT ready.
  • 4.3″ LCD.
  • Bezel colour can be customised with own colour and logo.
  • 1GB RAm and 8GB ROM is generous.


  • Android V2.3 is really starting to age now.
  • No 3G or phone chop.
  • Expensive for the spec.

Price & Availability

Price is going to be sat from about the £700 mark for this device which puts it at just above average for this class of device.  We don’t think it suits the classic Field Rugged Android user where pricing is as low as £350 (Winmate e430) and as high as £1200 in that class but against other EPOS terminals it’s going to ruffle feathers!


The general spec of the Motorola MC40 isn’t going to set any hearts racing, but the OMAP 4 CPU running at 800MHz, 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM will be more than enough for most and the RAM/ROM is pretty big. Android v2.3 is a little old but then Motorola has included a whole raft of android based tools to cover up any security flaws people thing it may have so they have to commit to a version to do this and most people using this device won’t ever get to see the underlying OS anyway, using a bespoke app for the job at hand.

We think this is an interesting device and whilst it’s aimed at field based Rugged Android PDA’s users,  it has plenty of USP’s and has definitely found a niche in the EPOS terminal market.  It’ll compete really well against the like of the Casio and Pidion EPOS terminals in our opinion, where the pricing will be far more comparable.  At the least it gives customers a decent alternative form the classically bulky EPOS terminals available now.

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