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Mobilecomputingrequiresmobilecomputers.Whichbrandsandmodelsyouselectcanbeaharddecision.Thefollowinglistof
questionsaredesignedtohelpyouthinkthroughsomeofthebigissuesthatwillenableyoutonarrowdowntheselectionlist.

Thefirstbigquestionyoushouldansweriswhatistheprimarypurposeofthehandheldormobiledevice.Isitbarcodescanning,
GPS,RFID,surveying,mapreading,voicecalls,email,digitalsignaturesorfielddatacollection?

Thesecondbigquestioniswhatistheenvironmentthatthedevicewillbeusedin.Isitusedintheoffice,clinic,warehouse,cold
storageoroutintherainonaconstructionsite.

Therearealargenumberofverygoodhandheldcomputers,PDAs,TabletPCs,laptopsandSmartPhonestoselectfrom,
however,thekeytogettingtherightmobiledeviceistoresearchthebusinesspurposesandtheenvironmentinwhichthe
solutionwillbeusedbeforemakingaselection.Thefollowingquestionsshouldhelpyounarrowdownyourlistofmobilehandheld
computers:
1. Whatenvironmentwillyoubeworkingin-isithot,cold,wetordusty?
2. Howruggeddoyouneedyourdevice?Thereisaruggednessscale.
3. Arethereexplosivevaporsorexplosivepowders?
4. Isitacleanofficeenvironment,oramuddyandruggedoutdoorsenvironment?
5. Istheuserinandoutofvehiclesallday?
6. Isyoursoftwareapplicationfocusedexclusivelyonbarcodescanning,RFIDreading,GPS,ordoyouneedamulti-purpose
datacollectiondevice?
7. Willthehardwareconfigurationeverneedtobechanged?Somehandheldscanbeconfiguredatwill;othersarelocked
andcanonlybeusedwiththeoriginalconfiguration.
8. Willthedevicebeusedasaprimaryphone,orisitfocusedondatacollection?
9. Whathardwarerequirementsdoesyourmobileapplicationrequire?
10. Willthebatterylastlongenoughtocompleteyourdailyworkbetweencharges?Doyouneedback-upbatteries?Canyou
usebatteriespurchasedatthelocalmarket,oraretheyvendorspecific?
11. Whatisyourbudget?Whatdoesthevalueofusingahandheldcomputerjustifyspending?
12. Doyouhaveenoughbudgettopurchaseordevelopthemobilesoftwareandhardwareyouneed?Doesyourbudgetonly
allowforlowcostconsumerdevices?
13. Howmanyreplacements(ofaconsumerdevice)doesittaketoequalthecostofaruggedizedhandheld?
14. Howdoyoureplacebrokendevices?Canyougetareplacementservicein24hours,ormustyouwaitaweek?
15. Whatkindofsupportcontractsandwarrantiesareavailable?
16. Howlongwillyournewhandheldcomputerbesupported,servicedandmanufacturedbythevendor?Isitnearendoflife
andbeingdiscountedforareason?
17. CanyouupgradetheoperatingsystemwhenMicrosoftreleasesanewversionoftheirmobileoperatingsystem?
18. Canyouusestandardlaptopdatacardsinthehandheld,ordoyouneedtopayforhighpricedvendorspecificcards?
19. Canyouviewthescreeneffectivelyinthesunlight?
20. Canyouaddmorememoryifyourrequirementsincrease?
21. Afewindustrialhandheldcomputershaveflashlightsbuiltintothedevicetoprovidebetterlightfortakingdigitalphotos.
Isthisuseful?
22. DoyourequireGPS?Ifso,howaccurate?
23. Willyourusersbewearinggloves?Ifso,smallkeyboardbuttonswon'twork.Howbigofkeysdoyouneed?
24. Doyouneedawaterproof,orjustwaterresistantcaseforyourhandheld?
25. Doesthebarcodescannerworkeffectivelyinreal-worldenvironment?Somescannerscannotscaneffectivelythrough
glassorplastic.

54 Questions to Help You Select the Right


Handheld Computer for the Job
KevinBenedict
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Company: IndependentConsultant
PostedonSep.30,200907:51AMinConsumerProducts,UtilitiesIndustry,SAP
ProcessIntegration(PI),SAPNetWeaverPlatform,RFID,Retail,Procurementand
SRM,OilandGas,Mobile,WholesaleDistribution
URL:http://mobileenterprisestrategies.blogspot.com/
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Page 1 of 3 SAP Network Blog: 54 Questions to Help You Select the Right Handheld Computer for t...
6/24/2010 http://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/wlg/16020
26. Isthesizeandweightofthehandheldappropriatefortheuserandenvironment?
27. Canyourhandheldcomputersupportalltheadd-onsyourequireatthesametime?Somedevicescanonlysupporta
specificnumberofadd-oncomponentssoyouareforcedtochoose.SomecannotsupportbothaGPSandadatacardat
thesametime.SomedevicescannotsupportbothabarcodescannerandaGPSadd-on.Thisisanimportant
consideration.
28. Doyouneedonlyatouchscreenandnavigationpad,anumberpadorafullQWERTYkeyboard?Thisisveryimportant
foruseracceptance.
29. Isthehandhelddevicealsogoingtobeusedasaphone?Isa2poundindustrialgradehandheldreallyausablephone?
30. DoesyourlowcostconsumergradePDAneedaruggedcaseliketheones<spanclass="blsp-spelling-
error">Otterbox</span>sells?
Ifyouonlyhaveabudgetforalowcostdevice,doesitsupportthebatterylifeandadd-oncomponentsyourequire?
31. Howwillthedevicebetransportedaroundajobsite?Willitstraptoabelt,swingfromashoulderstrap,sitinaholsteror
bemountedtothedashboardofyourtruck?Doesyourdevicesupportyourchosenmethod?
32. Whereistheclosestinventoryofextrahandheldcomputers?Whereistheclosestrepairdepot?
33. Willyourvendorloanyouadeviceontrial?
34. Canyourentthehandheldifyouonlyneeditforashort-termproject?
35. Doesyourvendortaketrade-insonyouroldhandheldcomputers?
36. Canyougetthesameexacthandheld,underadifferentbrandnameforless?
37. Howwillyourhandheldcomputersenddatabacktotheoffice?Cradlesync,WiFi,<spanclass="blsp-spelling-
error">bluetooth</span>,wirelessdatacard,GPRS/<spanclass="blsp-spelling-error">GSM</span>,CDMA?
38. Whatsizescreendoyouneed?SomedevicesliketheJett-Eyehavea"landscapeview"othersa"portraitview"manyhave
differentsizedscreens.Whatdoyourequire?
39. Doyouneedanintegrateddigitalcamera?Doyouneedaloworhighresolutioncameraanddoesyourdevicesupportit?
40. DoesarefurbisheddevicefromRyzexmakebettersensethatanewdevice?
41. Whereisyourvendor'soffice?Aretheyintheneighborhoodorontheothersideoftheplanet?Doestheirlocationoffer
youthesupportandattentionyoudeserve?
42. Doesyourhandheldcomputerrunonthesameoperatingsystemthatyourmobilesoftwaresolutionsrequires?Ihavehad
customersorderWindowsCEdevicesfortheirWindowsMobileapplication.Itdidnotwork.
43. Isyourdevicelikelytobestolen?Ifso,youmaywanttousecheapdevicesthatcanbeeasilysecuredandreplaced.We
haveimplementedprojectsinAfricawherethiswasanissueforthebuyer.
44. Doesyourhandheldcomputercomewithapistolgriporotherstrapsthathelpyouavoiddroppingit?
45. Canyoucomfortablyholdthedeviceinyourhandheldandcompleteyourwork?Somedeviceshavescannersontheside,
ontheendorunderneath.
46. Canyoueffectivelyviewthedatayouneed?Somejobssimplyrequireafullkeyboardandafullscreenforviewinglarge
CADfilesorMaps.Doesyourscreensizematchyourrequirements?
47. Wherewillyoustorethedevicewhenyouusethewashroom?OneofmycustomersusedTabletPCsandtheykept
breakingwhentheyslippedoffofthesinksinthebathrooms.
48. DoesthemobiledeviceyouselectsupporttheRFIDreaderyouneedfordistanceandaccuracy?
49. Doesthebatteryinthemobilehandheldlastlongenoughafteryouhaveaddedonalltheadditionalhardware
accessories?Eachaddedradiousesmoreenergy.
50. Ifyouhavedozensofhandheldcomputers,howwillyouchargethemallatthesametime?Doyouhaveadockingstation
thatallowsforallofyourdevicestobothchargeandsynchronizeatthesametime?
51. Doyouneedwirelessdataplans,ordoesbatchsynchronziationaftereachshiftwork?
52. Whatwirelesscarrieranddataplanprovidesthebestserviceandcostforyou?Doesthatwirelesscarriersupportyour
mobiledevice?
53. Doesthewirelesscarrierhavesufficientcoverageforyourworkers?
54. Whatisyourbudgetforeachhandheldcomputer?Thismaylimityourselectionandmakethechoicesimpler.
Idon'tsellorrepresentanymobilehardware.Ihavejustmanagedmanymobileapplicationdevelopmentprojectsaroundthe
worldsohavelearnedsomelessons.
KevinBenedictKevinBenedictisanindependentconsultantonMobileandEDI/B2BStrategies,
http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinbenedict
Can you think of additional questions that would help narrow the selection of handheld computers?
Comment on this weblog

Page 2 of 3 SAP Network Blog: 54 Questions to Help You Select the Right Handheld Computer for t...
6/24/2010 http://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/wlg/16020

Page 3 of 3 SAP Network Blog: 54 Questions to Help You Select the Right Handheld Computer for t...
6/24/2010 http://weblogs.sdn.sap.com/pub/wlg/16020