3 Things to Know About Scanning Barcodes with Your Smart Phone

Smart Phones Have Limited Functionality to Scan Barcodes

Cell Phone.jpeg

In 2017, the number of cell phones being used worldwide is estimated to be 4.77 billion, which means that just about everyone has a low-cost, high-resolution digital camera at their fingertips. With that said, you might be thinking . . . “Why not use something I already own for barcode scanning”?

In an application brief, Honeywell states that smartphones have limited functionality for business-grade barcode scanning and there are multiple reasons why.  Here are the top 3 “Why Nots” to consider:

# 1 Battery Life

At the top of the “Why Not” list is Battery Life.  Ask the following questions:

  • Is the battery life sufficient to last through the entire shift?
  • What is the battery re-charge time?
  • Can the battery in the device be replaced?

In general, using your smart phone for barcode scanning puts considerable strain on the battery.  It is likely, even where only moderate scanning is required, the battery will not last through an 8-hour shift.  In that case, additional considerations for spares or time to recharge need to made to keep your team up and running for their entire shift.

#2 Limited Scanning Ability

The second “Why Not” is a smart phone’s Limited Scanning Ability.  Omni-directional scanning, and fast scanning speeds, are standard for business-grade devices.  Per a stat quoted in the Honeywell brief, “A mobile computer with integrated imager reads 3.8 times faster than a leading iPhone scanning application app”.

In addition, business-grade devices offer a variety of scan engines for specific scanning requirements like long range, high density or direct part mark scanning. With a smart phone, this flexibility does not exist, giving you the ability to scan a single bar code from a relatively close distance . . . that’s it; no other scanning options are available.

#3 Ergonomics

The third “Why Not” is Ergonomics.  Business-grade devices are "designed with repetitive work in mind".  Simply put, smart phones aren’t. In addition, business-grade devices offer multiple options for data input including barcode scanning, keypad and touch screen options or combinations of these input methods.  Smart phones don’t offer this flexibility. 

Here’s the bottom line . . . your smart phone is capable of scanning barcodes, but it has a limited capacity to do so when compared to the options available with business-grade devices.  You may save a little money, but productivity will likely suffer.

Read the Honeywell Brief  

Still have unanswered questions?  Contact us at 937-436-2343.