September 27, 2018

Zebra upgrades rugged handhelds for logistics market

Android-based mobile computers will help IT managers transition from Microsoft Windows, firm says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Zebra TC72 WLAN and TC77Logistics technology provider Zebra Technologies Corp. today rolled out its latest version of Android-based, touch-screen handheld computers designed for rugged applications in retail, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics.

The TC52/TC57 and TC72/TC77 rugged mobile computers are based on Google Inc.'s Android operating system (OS), which is widely expected to replace Microsoft Corp.'s Windows OS for rugged handheld devices in many supply chain applications in coming years. Microsoft is in the process of ending technical support for its popular Windows Embedded CE and Windows Handheld operating systems (OSs) by 2020 in favor of its new platform, Windows 10 Mobile, a move that is prompting many organizations to change their allegiance to the consumer smartphone favorite, Android.

Zebra's latest devices come with the firm's Mobility DNA software, which is designed to ease that transition by offering a suite of productivity, administration, end-user applications, and developer tools, according to the Lincolnshire, Ill.-based company.

The new models build on Zebra's existing TC51/TC56, TC70x/TC75x and TC70/TC75 computer series, and offer four upgrades, the firm said: a console that allows IT administrators to track battery health and status; enhanced Wi-Fi radio technology that supports workforce productivity with improved network connectivity and fast roaming; customizable device access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) to improve privacy and security; and extended support for security patch updates.

According to Zebra, those attributes combine to make the TC52/TC57 and TC72/TC77 product lines appropriate both for warehouse and fleet management applications—such as product picking/put-away, proof of delivery and pick up, electronic driver logging, and track and trace—and also for uses outside the four walls, such as inventory management, price/audit changes, click and collect, last mile delivery, direct store delivery (DSD), and route optimization.

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