Warehouse Rugged PDA’s are the penultimate category we’re going to look at in this blog week and whilst some of these devices can be considered for field mobile applications, and often have been where specific requirements or high ruggedness have been required, we’re going to look at them from the warehousing angle.
A good Rugged PDA for warehousing has to have multiple barcode scanner options and these scanners have to be good or configurable due to the poor lighting conditions you find in the warehouse environment. They also have to be ergonomic so that you can use the device to scan intensively all day, very tough and we also like to see a raft of accessories that make it easy to charge and manage the hardware in a “depot” style manner. Lets have a look at our top 5 right here:
Intermec’s CK3 simply wins this category for us hands down. Intermec have remained strong in their warehouse offering, whilst they were focussing on their field mobile CN series Rugged PDA’s and their CK series has been at the fore-front of this. The CK3 is strong, durable, has a plethora of accessories and 3 barcode scanner options. There’s a 1D standard laser scanner that’s very competent, a long ranger scanner and a “Near/Far dual range scanner that’s highly configurable and has remained quite unique on the market until very recently. Add to this the software you get with the devices to help you manage and provision, RFID options that are gaining momentum in the warehouse arena and the very low pricing and this warehouse oriented rugged handheld is too much to live with.
Psion Workabout Pro
The Psion WAP is simply one of the most loved devices in this category and it shows by the fact there are always at least 2 generations of the devices current at any one time, driven by sheer demand for accessories and additions. The WAP is also comparatively inexpensive and where it scores is in the magnitude of accessories/configs you can snap on to the device itself making for a very configurable rugged PDA that you see in vans as much as in the warehouse. It’s scan engines aren’t as good as the CK’s, it’s not quite built as well either and the service is more expensive which are the 3 reasons it made 2nd place not 1st.
This is Motorola’s heavyweight rugged PDA and the “G” or “Gun” version is the device you often see lying on those trollies in Asda or Tesco. The MC9090 has been around for years and the sign of a good established device is when it doesn;t change much over the years. It has finally now been discontinued as a complete range (Long and short keyboards) but the G remains recently upgraded and current which is testament to its popularity and ruggedness. OK, it’s a Motorola and it has a few very big clients but in my view it’s not just a brand thing, this device is very capable, very configurable and has everything you need for a low risk warehousing solution. Why is it 3rd then?…The price is almost double the devices in 1st and 2nd place and the device is nowhere near twice as good, in fact the Psion and Intermec are at least as good at half the price.
This time Pidion get the “curveball” newcomer accolade in this category. Despite being recently released, we’ve been playing with this device on a few large projects for a few months now and have enough feedback for us to feel that we can pass back the comments being made about this device. The Pidion BIP-7000 is slightly different in this class and I think it’s a little bit more generic and field derived this is seemingly working for some who do not necessarily need a device that’s too heavily focussed on scanning. The smaller size and 5 scan buttons make it perfect for more “picking” style solutions and for user to carry and use in the warehouse and mobile environments. It’s new, powerful and perhaps the most unique feature is its super low pricing that will make it worth a look in this category. Everyone who has had our demo device won’t look at anything else and I only see this device climbing the ranks here as it matures in this market.
Lastly the Psion NEO takes the 5th spot here giving Psion 2 devices in this category. This was the argument device with both the Janam XG100 and Motorola MC300o being strong contenders so why did the Neo take this spot? Well because we’re different and bold here and unlike the Janam and Motorola, the NEO is too. Like the BIP-7000 it’s small, in fact very small, it also has everything you need in a warehouse device with gun handles and in fact it is simply a shrunken down warehouse PDA. This again makes it inexpensive, more suitable for multi-scenario solutions and if presented correctly can make a compelling solution. So why 5th, not 1st? Well firstly we don’t sell enough, in fact no-one does and this device has also had its troubles in the past with casing design being at fault and cracking when dropped but these should have been resolved now. Despite the NEO being here for 18 months now, we think that, whilst great on paper and great in our offices, it still has a lot to prove in the field.
So there we have it. We’re going to take a look at Hospital focussed devices in the last of this series tomorrow and as always give us a shout if you want to discuss anything you find here.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.