2015 Standout Android Product of the Year: CipherLab RS30 Review
Combining a consumer-friendly operating system with the rugged protection needed for work, this product fills an important niche for small to midsize retail and supply chain companies.
The debate over rugged versus consumer mobile devices has been around for nearly a decade. But, despite VARs’ and systems integrators’ best efforts to show the TCO (total cost of ownership) advantage of rugged devices, the BYOD (bring your own device) revolution cannot be stopped. End users simply insist on using consumer devices in the workplace.
Accommodating customers’ requests often leads to a whole new set of headaches when these “channel unfriendly” devices break or malfunction. Compounding the problem further is the fact that end user profit losses caused by downtime often negatively trickle down to resellers’ bottom lines, too. So what are solution providers to do?
Consumer Grade and Rugged Come Together in the RS30
Thankfully, CipherLab understands the challenges end users and IT solution providers face, and it’s developed a viable solution: The CipherLab RS30 Enterprise Smartphone, which earned EMS Barcode’s vote for “2015 Best Android Product of the Year.”
In the past, companies often paired consumer smartphones with rugged Bluetooth scanners, but end users overwhelmingly prefer using one device instead of two, says Luis Wu, vice president and general manager at CipherLab USA. “The RS30 features the best of both worlds in a single form factor. First, it is built on the Android OS, which makes it intuitive for end users to operate, and it is an easy platform for ISVs to develop software for. In fact, we even created the flexibility for VARs and software developers to allow customers to download software from the Google Play store. Additionally, they can use CipherLab AppLock to prevent users from accessing the app store, installing unwanted apps, or using specific functions on the device.”
Despite having a form factor that resembles today’s latest smartphones, the RS30 has an IP 54 rating to safely sustain operation under rain and dust in the field. It is also designed to withstand a 4-foot drop (1.2 m) to concrete, and an add-on rubber boot boosts the drop test protection to 5 feet (1.5 m).
The touch-panel on the mobile computer is ultra sensitive and diverse enough to be used with bare fingertips or while wearing latex gloves. Plus, the panel is built with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which offers high resistance to scratches.
Depending on customers’ needs, the Cipherlab RS30 can be purchased with 1D linear, laser, or 2D imager reader options.
Another standout feature of this mobile bar code reader is that it comes with two SIM card slots. “Users can use one SIM for their personal cell phone number and a second one for work,” says Wu. “Plus, unlike with consumer devices, the RS30 comes with a backup battery and is hot swappable.”
The MSRP for the device ranges between $875 and $1,125. Cipherlab RS30 Price
Customers Confirm CipherLab RS30’s Greatness
EMS Barcode customer 415 IT evaluated the RS30 for one of its retail shoe store clients last year. “They are a growing company with 20 retail stores and a warehouse with more than a dozen employees,” says Dan Stevens, director at 415 IT. “They needed an Android-based barcode scanning solution that could connect to their POS system in their stores and their WMS system in their warehouses, primarily for inventory management purposes.
“Prior to discovering the CipherLab RS30 smart device, we had experimented with pairing Bluetooth barcode scanners and smartphones and we even looked at snap-on bar code readers, but these solutions were always buggy and had poor reading ranges,” says Stevens.
He says his company evaluated the RS30 device in late December 2015 and within a week of testing it, 414 IT knew it was a winner. “The device performed well in various lighting conditions and from various ranges,” Stevens says. “We ordered 25 devices initially for our client, and we are already preparing to order 25 additional RS30 devices based on our client’s feedback. One of the features we love most about these devices is the clip on chargers that are included. Not only do they make it easier to charge, but they are much more rugged than the tiny USB cords that come with consumer smartphones and is a common point of failure in the workplace. CipherLab addresses all these areas of vulnerability with the RS30. We anticipate selling many more of these devices this year — not only to our shoe retail client, but several other small to midsize retailers looking for a rugged barcode scanner with a consumer device appeal, too.”