Honeywell Scanning & Mobility has found a place for a smartphone with a consumer look in a rugged work environment. The company has introduced the Dolphin 70e Black, a hybrid device that looks like a smartphone but is ruggedized like a computer for the field.
A division of Honeywell International, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility manufactures rugged mobile computers and barcode scanners for image- and laser-based data collection. Honeywell designed the device for auto-identification and data capture (AIDC) of information such as patient data or product specifications in the retail industry.
Announced Oct. 23, the Dolphin Black combines the design of a consumer smartphone with the toughness of an enterprise mobile computer.
"Users want a device that was similar to their consumer devices while IT professionals want a single device that can serve their demanding applications," Peter Fehl, vice president of global marketing at Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, told eWEEK in an email.
It aids workers in health care, logistics, transportation and other field work industries.
"In addition to technicians and direct parcel delivery drivers that we experience in our everyday lives, Dolphin Black also targets supply chain managers who want continuous connectivity, durability and performance in harsh environments," said Fehl.
At three-quarters of an inch thick and with a weight of 7 ounces, the Dolphin Black can fit in a worker's pocket. The phone comes in versions running Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android 4.0.
In a hospital, a nurse can carry the Dolphin Black rather than a phone pager and scanner, according to Honeywell. One device allows nurses to travel from the triage to their office while remaining connected, said Fehl.
The phone provides similar flexibility for retail workers, and the extended battery life lasting up to 12 hours meets the needs of transportation and logistics workers, according to Fehl.
"Dolphin Black reflects two device trends in today's industrial world: consolidation and consumerization," John Waldron, president of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, said in a statement.
The mobile workflow is expected to reach 1.3 billion by 2015, according to research firm IDC. Rugged mobile devices benefit public safety workers, the military and construction.
"Workers and enterprises are looking for a single device that can do the work of several," said Waldron.
A typical device for the AIDC industry is bigger and heavier, Waldron suggested.
"They also want their devices to be as intuitive and easy to use as their personal mobile phones and tablets, but rugged enough to survive the environment of today's mobile professional," said Waldron.
The Dolphin Black has an Ingress Protection (IP)-67 rating for submersion in water and its ability to ward off dust.
In addition, the device features an area-imaging scanner to capture 1D and 2D bar codes, which are used to scan loyalty reward cards in retail as well as verify patient IDs and prescriptions in health care, according to Steve Ortley, strategic marketing manager at Honeywell Scanning and Mobility.
It also has a 4.3-inch capacitive-touch display that allows for viewing in direct sunlight. In a trial, the Dolphin Black ran ALK Technologies' CoPilot Live Professional navigation software to show how it can benefit logistics workers in stock rooms or shipping and receiving.
The Dolphin Black will be available in February 2013.