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The Motorola ES400 EDA – Gives New Meaning to ‘Anytime, Anywhere’
Motorola’s new EDA (Enterprise Digital Assistant) is out to woo companies that rely heavily on field operations. Its push-to-talk capability, compact size, light weight body, and super bright touch screen display might sound ho-hum for starters. But those were just appetizers.
Here’s where its strongest features lie:
Target users – Being an EDA, this device can realize its full potential if deployed in industries that require extensive use of its data capture and sending capabilities. Hence, companies who have people involved in field sales, field service, retail, and healthcare are the best clients.
Operating System – Interestingly, the Motorola used Windows Mobile (v 6.5.3) for this mobile device. The company has been known to be a strong supporter of Linux and Android (both open source OSes), even producing the highly successful Android-powered Droid in late 2009.
Still, the ES400 is not the first Motorola phone that’s powered by Windows. The older MC55, also an EDA, also used Windows Mobile (v 6.5). Windows has not been doing well in the smartphone market, a field currently dominated by iPhone and Android phones, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.
Connectivity – This phone runs on Sprint’s 3.5G CDMA EVDO Rev network in the US. However, it can seamlessly switch to GSM when needed. Since GSM is used in most parts of the world, that essentially means you’ll have no trouble using it practically anywhere you go.
It also supports WiFi (a/b/g) and Bluetooth, which is nice but it could have been better had it supported 802.11n as well. Nevertheless, these connectivity features are sufficient enough for practically all of today’s data transfer requirements.
Camera-cum-Scanner – This EDA’s 3.2 megapixel camera doubles as a bar code scanner, which can be used for 1D and 2D bar code scanning. Therefore, captured data can be in the form of videos, images, and bar codes.
Navigation / User Interface – Typing in text can primarily be done through the built-in keypad, which allows for QWERT, AZERTY, or QWERTZ configuration options. However, you can also interact with it through its touchscreen panel that uses the more sensitive resistive technology.
When using the touchscreen, you need to use the accompanying stylus, as it doesn’t support multi-touch. We’ll explain why shortly.
Durability – EDA’s are understandably built to be tough since they can be deployed in rugged environments. This particular EDA can withstand a drop from a height of 0.91 m on a vinyl floor and has an operating temperature range between 0ºC to 40ºC.
When stored, the ES400 can survive within a temperature range of -40ºC (way beyond freezing) to 70ºC. It is also well sealed and can be brought out into the rain.
Display – As mentioned earlier, the ES400 doesn’t support multi-touch, unlike the Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Nexus One. It is however worth remembering that the ES400 is an EDA, and not an ordinary smartphone. Thus, it’s going to be used in tasks that require confirmation features for added security.
That means, it can also support signature capture (you can add this to the ES400’s data-capture abilities) – a feature that has problems when used with a multi-touch screen. Added security is provided by a finger swipe scanner and PIN code entry.
Feature-wise, I should say the Motorola ES400 is aptly prepared for extensive field work and data capture needs. Its superior network adaptability is also very impressive, as having a device that your team can rely on anywhere under almost all weather conditions is certainly very important in any global operation.