Its about time we blogged about barcodes again, it’s been a while and the motivation for this is simple.  We get the odd speight of customers all wanting to get barcoding working on their cheap smartphones, finding out the camera isn’t good enough and then coming to us thinking a bluetooth scanner will just magic the woes away.  It often doesn’t and this blog explores why not.

Price

You know a rugged device has always typically been way more costly than a shiny smartphone one but that’s not so true any longer.  We sell rugged smartphones that are as well specced, as good quality and half the price of many of the smartphones you might be struggling with. Barcode technology isn’t cheap but it often comes cheaper embedded into a device that it does to add it on so buying a rugged smartphone with barcode scanner might not be as expensive as you think.

Setup

Setting up a Bluetooth barcode scanner isn’t always as simple as you might think and setting them up properly can require some expertise.  For instance which Bluetooth protocol do you need?  HID or SPP  and do these still work on Windows devices?  Whilst Bluetooth is way better these days, it still needs setting up correctly.

SDK

To get really fine control you need to use the SDK of the device but now you need to use 2, 1 for anything you;re doing on the smartphone and 2 for anything barcode scanning wise on the scanner.  If you’re programming your own solution then you need to think about the dual SDK’s your team will need to pick up, use and integrate with your device.

Dual devices

So now you have 2 devices which both need charging and managing.  It only takes 1 to go wrong and both devices are redundant and you’ll need double the battery chargers to charger them!

Support

Now you have 2 devices it means your support could be more complicated too.  If you want a service pack based support service then you’ll need a separate one for each device.  The way you log issues might be different for each device and because you’re using 2 devices, issues can often get passed onto the other supplier.

Add to this, with a smartphone and Bluetooth scanner dual approach are you really going to get the general expert support you need?  You’re much more likely to get help when you ask from a supplier of rugged kit in my view as these guys tend to be enterprise focussed.

So there you have it, some food for thought!

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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