Today it’s a quick post in our series “understanding the Rugged PDA” about what the heck the Camera does on a Rugged PDA and why you need one. Despite being a pretty simple piece element of any PDA, the camera is still one of the most thought about parts we get asked about. Camera’s are becoming more popular in applications where they are used to inspect, prove attendance or even to help engineers identify and get help on parts.
Camera as a bar code scanner
Firstly to answer our number 1 question about whether you can use the Rugged PDA camera as the bar code scanner, this really is a big NO. Yes it does scan bar codes, however the performance alone is enough to stop it right there as your users will be throwing the device down the road if they are required to scan anything more than a few bar codes. Add to that it will probably mis-read 1D bar codes, it will not scan any difficult to read bar codes and it really should only be through of as something to use if you only scan occasionally.
The camera is also not just about Mega pixels. There are 2MP cameras that we think are better than 3MP ones and it really does depend on how the whole application on the rugged PDA runs. Some will have extra camera elements, others will use the standard OS application. Rule of thumb here is to test before you buy if the camera is essential to your solution.
Also the support of the camera in the devices SDK is essential if you plan on using it effectively in your solution. Using the .NET capabilities alone will leave you with a more multi-device friendly application, but to get fine control and to make it more usable in your solution you need to use the SDK that comes with the device. Some are great, some not so great!
These days the choice of whether to have a camera built-in or not is becoming easier as they are either a very cheap or zero cost option so having it or not doesn;t really make a difference. With inspection and proof elements coming into solutions more and more though and with faster data speeds to sync them we’re seeing a lot more people using the camera on their solutions now.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.