Motorola MC2100

December 15, 2011

MC2100 Mobile ComputerThe MC2100 is Motorola’s recently announced mobile computer, looking to place itself between the MC1000 and MC3000, and I think it’s a great choice for retailers needing powerful inventory management at an affordable price. The low end mobile computer market has a lot of options, but many run a proprietary OS or cut out key features & functionality in an effort to make the price point more appealing. Thankfully, the MC2100 fits well into this price range without cutting out needed functionality.

The MC2100 runs Microsoft Embedded CE 6.0, which I guess is the next step in Windows CE. There’s been a pretty solid naming shakeup since Windows Mobile split into Windows Embedded for handhelds and Windows Phone, but it seems like everything is settled by now. Anyway, Microsoft Embedded CE 6.0 gives you support for legacy Windows Mobile/Windows CE software packages.

Windows CE is powered by a 624 MHz Marvell PXA320 processor with 128 MB of RAM and 256 MB of Flash. While it’s not the biggest and fastest mobile computer on the market, the MC2100 is going to make short work of database management for most businesses. For additional storage, a microSD slot supports up to 32 GB cards, for big databases, preformatted files, or 10,000 copies of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” in mp3 form. If you’re into that sort of thing.

For barcode scanning, the MC2100 gives you your choice of 1D laser scanner, linear imager, and 2D imager. The linear imager is a new addition from Motorola, and is pretty beefy. From what I’ve heard, you can get an effective scan range of 30″ on regular UPC barcodes with the linear imager. It should definitely cut down on having to haul products off shelves during inventory audits. The laser scanner and 2D imager are the same fantastic scanners Motorola’s been building since the dawn of time, so no matter which model you pick, you’ll have no trouble scanning barcodes.

Motorola really designed the MC2100 for retail inventory management, asset tracking, and receiving, not necessarily for heavy industrial environments. But for the 95% of us who don’t work in torrential downpours, sandstorms, or the arctic tundra, the MC2100 is still a tough product. The body is sealed to IP54 standards, meaning windblown dust & splashes of water won’t get in and harm sensitive electronics. It can also survive drops of about 4-feet to concrete, so it should be fine if it accidentally is knocked off a table or out of a pocket, but I definitely wouldn’t want to throw it to a coworker.

It does come in two flavors: the MC2100 and the MC2180. The MC2100 is the batch scanning device, and lacks a touchscreen interface and 2D imager option. The MC2180 is the more full-featured of the two, giving you Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n WiFi, a resistive touchscreen, and greater data capture with 2D scanning.

Both are great options and definitely have different applications. The MC2100 would be a great fit for smaller retailers needing batch inventory counts but not doing shipping/receiving, more like simple data entry and management. If you need a bit more functionality, like up-to-the-minute inventory updates, or you’re scanning shipping labels or the PDF barcode on a state ID, the MC2180 is the product for you.

Motorola MT2000

April 6, 2010

Hey it’s been a while since I made a post. Like over a month. That’s not a good way to build a readership. But here it is, some new gear from our friends at Motorola. The MT2000 is an upgrade and replacement over the old Phasers, and it seems to try to bridge the gap between barcode scanner and batch data collector.

There are two flavors of the MT2000, the MT2070 which is batch and bluetooth, and the MT2090 which has an 802.11b/g radio built in. You also get your choice of laser scanner, 2D imager, or a high density 2D imager, so you only have to pay for the barcode scanning you need and nothing extra. As fantastic as the laser barcode scanner is, I definitely recommend the 2D imager. Motorola’s made great strides in their 2D imaging technology, and the MT2000 definitely shows the fruits of their labor. This is the same imager that’s found in the DS9808, a presentation scanner fast enough to keep up with grocery store scanner/scale combos. It’s pretty badass.

The MT2000 has a similar design to the Phaser, looking like something you’d imagine Commander Riker would be using to shoot aliens. Phaser is definitely an apt name for the product. It’s pretty comfy to use, and the balance of the device prevented wrist strain during extended scanning. Motorola also beefed up the durability on the MT2000, giving it a drop resistance of 6-feet to concrete and a “sneeze-proof” IP54 rating.

Overall, the unit has a good design and should fit in well at retail establishments or warehouses alike. It runs Windows CE 5.0 Core with a default barcode/quantity application installed by default. While in bluetooth mode, the MT2000 can send barcode data individually or in batches to your computer, and can filter by location.

I spent the better part of two weeks working with a MT2090, which is the WiFi flavor of this line, and I can definitely see it fitting into businesses that may need to do batch scanning but need a bit more than a Honeywell Voyager BT in memory mode or an Opticon OPN2001. By default, our version sent data to the communications cradle and on to whatever text field happened to be active. Batch data can be delimited by tab or comma, so a combination of a MT2000 and Notepad can make it easy to build CSVs for receiving or even creating purchase orders.

All in all, it’s a good unit. I did try to disable the built-in software, in hopes that I could boot into Windows CE by default, but was unable to do so. This could make it a little bit more difficult for developers to get their software onto the MT2000, but according to Motorola, MCL is also supported, so if you are developing within MCL you should be set.

Motorola MobileVisor

February 26, 2010

A couple years ago I made a post about the Motorola ScanVisor, a slick way to do quick Moto barcode scanner comparisons. Anytime you can find out the real actual differences between the LS9208 and LS9203 more than one has a tilty base has got to be a good day for buyers. Moto took this idea and applied it to their mobile computing line, so now there is the Motorola MobileVisor, and I think that’s fantastic.

Purchasing a mobile computer is an incredibly expensive ordeal and should never be taken lightly. Personally, I’d be really hesitant to drop two grand on something unless I knew for certain it was right for me. So with the MobileVisor, you can compare the MC55 and MC75 and see a solid breakdown of the differences, far more than “This one is black and this one is gray.” You can learn all sorts of crazy stuff, like that the MC5590 has a 520 MHz processor while the MC75 rocks out at 624 MHz. And I just now realized those mobile computers are faster than the iMac I used through most of college.

And much like the ScanVisor, MobileVisor lets you breakdown product listings by your industry, so you can look for the right mobile computer to use in a truck that hauls petrochemicals, or the health care mobile computer that is ideal for doctors who perform only appendectomies. Totally spelled appendectomies correctly on the first try. Count it.

Gigantor Audit Month

January 12, 2009

Hey look at this, I forgot to update for a while. It’s been a little rough, we’ve been working on getting as much of the site up to date as possible as quickly as possible, so I haven’t had as much downtime to make videos or post about the exciting life of point of sale product management.

Part of the fun of being a manager of products is that I have to make sure they’re accurate. Manufacturers may change a few parts on a product enough that it gets its own part number, prices drop, or maybe even get bumped up, and I gotta try my best to keep the umpteen thousand part numbers in line and awesome. Fortunately for me, I stomped my feet and held my breath long enough that the rough portions got delegated to other people. In actuality, it’s much better for new employees to dive into audits to get a better idea of what we sell.

Barcode Printers and Mobile Computers have been avoided for some time, and now they’re getting the due dilligence they deserve. Even better, they’re the two categories with the most individual part numbers and most often changed part numbers. It’s a gigantic and fun event there. Did you know that there are 73 different Datamax M-Class printers? Yeah. 73.  And that’s just the ones I know about. Luckily for me, I get to pass the grunt work to someone else and only have to deal with imagery and content creation.

In the process, I’ve seen which products customers clamor for. The Zebra ZM400 barcode printer, which weighs in at a beefy 30 pounds, has actually sold quite a few since getting put onto the site. It could help that we’re running a rebate for it too, but hey, those things are big and expensive and usually seem like a once a decade purchase to me.

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