I can make up words about most stuff we carry at POSGuys, primarily because the products are pretty similar to each other. Once you’re familiar with the different styles of barcode scanners it’s pretty straightforward to get a bead on where a new one fits. The MagTek Centurion secure card reader authenticator, and other new MagTek MagneSafe products, are a bit outside of my element, so they’ve taken me a lot longer to build up cheeky prose on their capabilities.

These card readers were made in response to the growing importance of PCI compliance and ensuring customer credit card data integrity is maintained. PCI compliance is a standard created by the Payment Card Industry (ooh, PCI) to help businesses identify potential weak points in their data security, and give some best use techniques to avoid data theft. After what happened with TJ Maxx and Heartland Payment, it became even more important to prevent this information from getting into the wrong hands.

For most card readers, the data is sent as plain text to the credit card processing software, which is then encrypted and fired across the internet to the credit card processing company. Unfortunately, the credit card processing software can be on computers used for myriad purposes, including trawling MySpace for new friends. This creates a vector for malware and other assorted nefarious apps to capture this information. The MagneSafe system is a hardware encryption scheme so that, if someone were to steal the data, they get gibberish instead of sweet, sweet credit card numbers.

What’s really great about these units specifically is that you can buy them unencrypted now, and if/when your credit card processor does support encrypted transmission, they can remotely reprogram the reader to match their encryption methods. So you don’t have the downtime of shipping it off to be programmed, and if something happens where you change processors, you’re still in luck.

Unitech HT680 Mobile Computer

February 23, 2010

Our Unitechnician friends recently showed off this new mobile computer and it definitely looks like it bridges some gaps and creates synergy and other buzzwords that make it fancy. It’s the Unitech HT680, and it’s a pretty beefy yet not wicked expensive unit.

The HT680, to me, seems like an in-between on their big tough PA line and their itty bitty batch device line. Kind of like the Hercules of the Unitech Pantheon. It comes standard with Windows CE 5.0 Pro, a 520 MHz processor, and 128 MB RAM / 512 MB Flash. So it may not be as much of a powerhouse as the PA600, but it’ll get the job done for most folk. There’s also an expansion slot for miniSD cards which can add up to 4 GB of Flash storage in case you want to load a rather large product database, or maybe a couple movies, onto the HT680 for later perusal.

For scanning, you get your choice of a 1D laser scanner or 2D imager, so you don’t have to pay for functionality you don’t really need. It’s also set at an angle from the device, much like the Honeywell Dolphin 6100, so it’s no sweat to scan barcodes while still staring at the screen.

All the units have Bluetooth v. 2 built-in, and come with an optional 802.11b/g radio in case you need to VOIP it up or update your facebook status while driving your forklift. I guess there are more legit applications, like hooking in to the central database to post and retrieve updates while on the job, so you don’t accidentally send 100 copies of “From Justin to Kelly” out to some poor soul.

The design on the HT680 makes it relatively tough, and so you should be safe letting even clumsier people use it. Like most mobile computers kickin around out there, the HT680 sports an IP54 seal, which means dust and splashes of water can’t get in to the electronics, or makes it sneezeproof. And through some combination of light internals (11.2 ounces, so svelte!) and sturdy design, this badboy can withstand drops of 6 feet to concrete. It’s the only Unitech mobile computer that can do that!

So I made the words for this and didn’t think it’d go live, but hey, it’s out there for sale and buying stuff is great, right? The relatively new Datalogic Gryphon I GBT4100 is out there and ready to buy, and it has a fantastically long name.

The Gryphon BT is a new premium cordless barcode scanner. I didn’t know there were premium barcode scanners, but this is one of them. It uses a Bluetooth 2 radio to maintain contact with the base station or bluetooth-equipped device, giving you about 98 feet of radio range. If you happen to get out of range, the Gryphon can switch into a batch scanning mode, storing up to 1,200 barcodes in on-board memory.

What I really dig about this scanner (yeah, serious) is that the charging cradle has an adjustable base that allows the Gryphon BT to act as a presentation scanner as needed. It’s kind of a spendy scanner, so the dual-purpose style really makes it a better choice than buying a cheap presentation scanner and a cheap cordless scanner. And if you’re using your checkstand, I doubt you’re going to want a coworker toddling around your business cordlessly scanning whatever he feels like.

Datalogic rocks the green spot technology on the Gryphon, much like most of their scanners. This makes it pretty solid for the hard of hearing, people in loud places, or people in quiet places where an annoying *BEEP* could illicit glares over library books. And when it’s in the cradle, the green spot turns on automatically, so you have a glowy indicator of where the sweet spot is for scanning. It’s like a little stage on which your barcode may perform.

Loud businesses like garden centers and lumber mills could get away with the Gryphon BT and its green dottiness, and the added ingress protection seal and reinforced body make it a little tougher than some of the cheaper scanners on the market. An IP52 seal can keep water splashes and dust out, with the 5 meaning that windblown dust (saw or otherwise) won’t get in to mess up the electronics, and the 2 referencing the Gryphon’s skill at keeping a light drizzle or splish splash of water out. To keep it safe from clumsy employees, Datalogic built the Gryphon to withstand 6-foot drops to concrete, so even Bird Man Chris Anderson can’t really break it if he drops it.

In conclusion: If you are a tall, clumsy person, and you work in a library, the Datalogic Gryphon I GBT4100 is the scanner for you. If you’re short and adept, this barcode scanner is still pretty radical.

Honeywell Dolphin 9700

January 27, 2010

So a few weeks ago Honeywell let us know about a pretty solid new mobile computer they have coming out. I got so excited I listed it right away, then found out it wasn’t available for sale until March probably. But I can’t deny you guys the fun times and info about this for that long.

The Dolphin 9700 is a handheld mobile computer designed for delivery services, route management, or pretty much any other data capture scenario. There is a model with health care plastics for the body, so you could drop one of those into a hospital and not worry about etching the case with cleaning agents.

For durability, all of them meet IP64 standards for sealing. This means no dirt can get in to harm the components, and it should be fine against sprays of water. I’m pretty sure it’s in the sneezeproof category at that point. It also withstands 5-foot drops to concrete and over 2,000 1.6-foot tumbles. I like to think of the example being you have it on the back of your truck, drive off, and it falls off the truck during a high speed chase, yet it’ll keep working.

Honeywell’s crammed their Adaptus Imagers into the Dolphin 9700. Currently, they have specs for the standard range 2D imager on regular models, and the Smart Focus 2D imager on the healthcare models. They also seated the imager at an angle from the top of the unit, so you can scan things in front of you while still looking at the screen. I like to see what I scan while I’m scanning it, so that seems pretty fancy to me. Optional models also can get a 2 megapixel color camera, in case you want to take pictures of the weird rash on your patient that looks like Eric Estrada, or maybe you want to document the boot prints on your shipment.

All models come with 802.11a/b/g and BlueTooth standard, and there are options to add GPS and GSM/HSDPA cell radios. Once you cram the GPS and the GSM in there, you have a pretty solid field service and route management solution right there.

To really rub it in to the competition that Honeywell’s in it to win it, they’ve bumped up their built-in flash offering to 1 GB, and have a microSD slot on the side of the Dolphin 9700 capable of reading 32 GB cards. I’m pretty sure with that size card, and the GPS, you could have a route management system for the solar system. And that’d be pretty bodacious.

Topaz Signature Capture Pads

November 18, 2009

One of the programmers we work with recently developed a signature capture application that works with the Topaz line of signature capture pads, so we thought it’d be a good idea to list a couple and see where it goes. So far we have the SigLite LCD series available, but could add more in the next few weeks.

What really interests us about these signature capture pads is that Topaz developed a plugin for MS Word, Excel, and Adobe Acrobat, allowing the captured data to be embedded into files. For businesses trying to limit their use of natural resources, this is a fantastic way to minimize paper (ab)use. I know we often receive contracts for various projects, and they usually require us to print out, sign, and fax the complete file back to the initial sender, essentially making two copies. Being able to add our signature to the PDF and email it back to them not only cuts down on paper usage but speeds up the process tremendously.

Not one to deprive you of the videos we make, here’s a quickie of the new POS-X EVO-TM1 touchscreen monitor. We got Travis to run this one, primarily because we wanted more videos of him on YouTube.

Opticon OPR 3101

November 3, 2009

I do enjoy finding odd or unique design decisions in the POS industry, and the Opticon OPR 3101 barcode scanner is a good fit for unique design. The only barcode scanners I know of with a trigger guard, the OPR 3001 and OPR 3101 are designed for light industrial or rough retail environments. The OPR 3101, though, is a cordless barcode scanner, so you can do your best Briscoe County/Wyatt Earp impression while doing inventory. I do want to get my hands on a couple of these and set up some sort of incredibly expensive laser tag style shootouts.

This is a rugged laser scanner, and it actually has the capability of scanning PDF and MicroPDF barcodes, so you could use it in shipping applications at a lower cost than cordless 2D scanners.

The scanner has a Bluetooth 2 radio in it, so you can’t get quite as far from the base station/bluetooth-enabled device as the XI3200, for instance, but it does automatically switch into batch mode when out of range and dumps the data when communication is regained.

Otherwise, it’s pretty similar to the cabled model. IP54 seal to keep out dirt and water, 9″ optimal scan range for 10 mil barcodes. And it has a trigger guard!

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