Written by Robert Mac
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Intermec develops wireless data collection systems, including everything from barcode readers and printers to handheld computers. If you can think of anything you'd see in a cashier's station--barcode wands, touch screens, cash drawers, and credit card slot readers--you are probably thinking of an Intermec product. Their mobile computing systems are used around the world.

Intermec's Rugged Handhelds

Intermec has a whole line of "rugged" handhelds, such as their 700 series. These are Pocket PC mobile computers that are ideal for fieldwork, retail, and distribution centers. They are also very easy to network: it can access Ethernet connections through its docking station, log on wirelessly with Wi-Fi in indoor locations, or use radio communication in wide open outdoor situations. With Bluetooth technology, the 700s can wirelessly connect to peripherals such as printers.

There are three ways to input data in the 700s. A dedicated keypad has numeric and alphanumeric keys for data entry and navigation. Built-in scanners can quickly read, capture, and sort barcode data, and a programmable touch screen lets you enter graphical data, such as signatures, or navigate through your data. And since they're "rugged," they can withstand a little more manhandling than a typical handheld.

The only downfall of these handheld computers is the price: nearly $1,400. While the price of handhelds has come down drastically, you can get one with a separate crushproof, waterproof, and dustproof case for about half the price. You'll still have access to all your ports and screen, and it's even more rugged than the 700 series.

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