Mobile Computers - The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Mobile Computers are not new devices, but they can be intimidating for businesses to purchase because of the cost, number of options, and ambiguity surrounding features and capabilities. Below are 10 out of 18 of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Mobile Computers, answered by  Zebra Technologies, one of the top manufacturers. For more information on Mobile Computers - don’t hesitate to contact us!

To checkout all 18 Questions & Answers -  download the full FAQ Guide here!

Special thanks to Zebra Technologies for answering these 18 common questions about Mobile Computers. Click here to see Zebra’s top Mobile Computers.

#1 What is a Mobile Computer?

Mobile Computer is a portable, handheld device used in enterprise environments to run mobile apps, capture barcodes, take photos and videos, and provide voice and data communications for workers and managers.

Mobile Computers are available in different form factors ranging from smartphone-style and tablet devices to rugged industrial-grade handheld computers. 

#2 What types of functions are generally available on Mobile Computers?

Most Mobile Computers will allow users to:

  • Run software applications
  • Connect to Wi-Fi and/or cellular networks
  • Connect to peripheral devices via Bluetooth
  • Scan barcodes
  • Take photos or videos
  • Transmit voice and data
  • Other features and capabilities will vary depending on the specific device.

    #3 What is the top functionality of Mobile Computers?

    The “top” functionality of a Mobile Computer will vary depending on the user and the application.

    But the core functionality of a Mobile Computer is in its name: A mobile device that allows you to access computing capabilities from virtually anywhere.

    Mobile Computers are similar to a mini desktop or laptop computer - in your hands, wherever you need it. Mobile Computers can do virtually anything laptop and desktop computers do, and sometimes more.

    For example, a Mobile Computer can scan barcodes, whereas a desktop or laptop usually requires a separate peripheral device to be connected to it for that purpose.

    #4 Which industry do you see Mobile Computers being the most popular?

    Warehousing, transportation and logistics, and retail are three industries where Mobile Computers have played a crucial role in workflows and processes for the longest time. But Mobile Computers are widely used in virtually every industry, from manufacturing and healthcare to the energy sector, they are even used in education and government work.

    #5 Why would I choose a Mobile Computer versus a barcode scanner or RFID reader?

    Mobile Computers are often the best choice for many enterprise applications because they are multi-purpose devices that can provide mobile computing as well as barcode scanning and RFID reading and writing, (device dependent).

    Barcode scanners/imagers and  RFID Readers generally have two main functions – to capture data and then to transmit that data back to a host device. Mobile computers can easily outperform both, by functioning as a computer, barcode scanner, RFID reader, camera, and GPS device all from one convenient handheld – which saves time and money.

    #6 How would I know I need a Mobile Computer? What functions would my application require?

    If your business has workflows that would benefit from having mobile access to software and business data, a Mobile Computer is often a great choice. For example, you may have workers who need access to data such as:

  • Customer Orders
  • Inventory Numbers
  • Shipping Addresses
  • Order Fulfillment Capabilities
  • Mobile ERP Systems
  • Proof of Delivery Signatures
  • Field Inspection information
  • Business Records
  • Business Pictures and/or Videos
  • Repair Data
  • The potential use cases are endless, but if you have questions about whether a Mobile Computer is the right fit for your business needs, contact us directly. We can help you evaluate your options and decide if it makes sense to use Mobile Computers or possibly a different solution.

    #7 Can a Mobile Computer provide GPS locations?

    Yes. Virtually all Mobile Computers manufactured today are equipped with GPS locating capabilities. GPS capabilities are used with Mobile Computers every day to help track deliveries, routes, workflows, personnel in the field, and much more.

    #8 How can data be imported/exported from Mobile Computers to PCs, networked, PCs or smartphones?

    The easiest way to import or export data between Mobile Computers and other devices is to use Wi-Fi or cellular Internet connectivity or Bluetooth wireless (if available). Software applications are most often used to connect a Mobile Computer to another device, but additionally most models are also equipped with micro-USB, or communication ports for connecting.

    #9 Is Wi-Fi availability necessary when using Mobile Computers?

    No, Wi-Fi does not need to be available to use a Mobile Computer, as long as the device you’re using supports a cellular network. Some Mobile Computers are Wi-Fi only devices and others have both Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities. Determine the application’s specific connectivity needs in order to select the ideal Mobile Computer for your application.

    #10 What is the average battery life for Mobile Computers?

    Battery life in Mobile Computers is entirely dependent on the battery technology each device offers and how it’s being used.

    Enterprise-grade Mobile Computers are designed with all-day business use in mind, so their batteries typically last much longer than consumer-grade devices using the same functionality. Mobile Computers can handle running multiple business apps, performing intensive scanning, as well as connected voice and data for hours at a time.

    Many of Zebra’s enterprise-grade Android Mobile Computers can provide up to 14 hours of battery life and can regularly handle heavy usage for a full shift or more. Zebra also manufactures devices with hot-swappable batteries that can be replaced on the fly, simply swap in a fully charged battery while the original is being charged.


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