Honeywell Dolphin 6000

June 17, 2011

Manufacturers are trying to hit a great market, Honeywell calls it Scanphones, Motorola calls it Enterprise Digital Assistants, but either way it’s that area between smartphones and mobile computers. More durable than a smartphone, yet nowhere near as expensive as a rugged mobile computer, these devices used to be plentiful. The Honeywell Dolphin 6000 is another great addition, and should be fantastic for a wide variety of uses.Honeywell Dolphin 6000

Compared to the disembodied hand in the picture, you can get a sense of the small size of the Dolphin 6000. The device comes equipped with GSM, GPS, 802.11b/g WiFi, and Bluetooth standard, pretty similar to standard smartphones on the market. It’s powered by Windows Mobile 6.5, so while you don’t get all the features of the Windows or Android App stores, you can run inventory or route management apps already developed for Windows Mobile, like RedBeam or Proxis Stock Manager.

For data capture, the Dolphin 6000 has a laser scanner built-in, plus a 3 megapixel color camera. I haven’t gotten my hands on one for extensive testing, so I don’t know yet if the camera can double as a 2D scanner. I’d like to think it does, but I haven’t verified.

The Dolphin 6000 only comes with a numeric, cell-phone style keypad, which is a little unfortunate. Text entry via T9 is slow and not always intuitive for users, and I just don’t really like it. I imagine there were space considerations when building out the unit, but a QWERTY option would’ve been fantastic. You do get a few more function buttons than a regular cell phone, so that should help with programming secondary functions.

Smartphones aren’t necessarily the most durable products on the market, especially not for the repeated data capture you see in grocery stores, retail locations, or remote sales. Honeywell built the Dolphin 600 to bridge the gap between smartphone and ultra rugged mobile computer, and the design adds durability while not making it a bulky monstrosity.

At room temperature, the Dolphin 6000 can survive 4-foot drops to concrete, about what would happen if an employee missed a jacket pocket, for instance. At all other operating temperatures, it can survive 3-foot drops. I did not realize there were optimal drop conditions, but it’s pretty cool to learn. The unit also sports an IP54 seal to keep out dust and water. The IP54 rating will keep out windblown dust as well as splishes and splashes of water, so it should be fine out and about in the environment.

What I really like about the Dolphin 6000 is that Honeywell’s releasing two variations, one with an 8 GB microSD card and one without. It makes it a lot easier to compare models when there aren’t 40+ different models. While it’d be great to have a QWERTY model, this should still be great for inventory management or mobile sales. And the price on the Dolphin 6000 is low enough that it could be a solid solution for single warehouse or retail inventory management.

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