Zebra releases rugged smartphone for mobile workforce
TC25 combines durability and barcode scanning with consumer electronics price point, firm says.
By Ben Ames
Logistics technology provider Zebra Technologies Corp. said today it has unveiled a rugged mobile workforce smartphone designed for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in developing markets, and priced at a level comparable to consumer handheld devices.
The TC25 will allow mobile workers such as couriers and direct store delivery (DSD) teams to scan barcodes, manage routes, and complete invoices with greater efficiency than traditional pen and paper systems or consumer smartphones, according to Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Zebra.
Most dedicated handhelds in that sector have a bulky shape and high sticker price, while consumer handhelds lack a dedicated barcode scanner and durable construction, the firm said. Zebra combined the best features of both options to target the SMB market, Jeff Hovorka, the company's director of product marketing, said in an email.
"Zebra's traditional customers in the courier, DSD, and field service typically have rugged devices in major markets," Hovorka said. "However, in many areas of Asia, Latin America, and smaller European countries, these customers are still relying on pen and paper."
In another nod to SMB customers accustomed to working with consumer electronics, the TC25 runs Google Inc.'s popular Android operating system (OS), the technology that many users in logistics and transportation are choosing to succeed Microsoft Windows in enterprise handhelds.
The new phone is designed to capture barcodes faster than the cameras on consumer smartphones, and to perform reliably in bad weather, Zebra said. This offers a valuable proposition for previously underserved SMBs, according to a statement from supply chain analyst firm VDC Research Group Inc.
About the Author
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.
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