Handheld Computers

5 Reasons to Use an Enterprise Digital Assistant

enterprise digital assistantKnown in some circles as a rugged handheld computer, an EDA (Enterprise Digital Assistant) is a good option if you have not been satisfied with other mobile devices. Most often used for commercial or industrial enterprises, EDAs bring features and characteristics to the mobile marketplace, that are not necessarily available with the average mainstream smartphones or tablets.

These devices often represent a substantial investment. For instance, one of the more popular EDA handheld computers, the Motorola MC65, is currently selling on Amazon.com for $1,290. However, for certain jobs or situations, EDAs are a huge aid to productivity and efficiency. Here are five reasons you might consider investing in a dedicated handheld computer.

1. Rugged Design

Many EDAs are designed with rugged industrial use in mind, which means they are much less fragile than the average smartphone or tablet. Where the glass screen of an iPhone can shatter with a single drop, rugged EDAs like the aforementioned Motorola MC65 bring extra peace of mind to the table. Industrial handheld computers are more durable than other mobile devices in three primary ways:

  • Better Drop Protection – One of the chief concerns of most smartphone developers is aesthetic appeal. You can thank Apple for that since the company’s late CEO Steve Jobs was always a proponent of attractive design and made the design element a priority with the original iPhone. Since then, most other smartphone designers have followed suit, and the result has been a market full of sleek and beautiful-looking mobile devices. In some settings such as out on a busy warehouse floor, aesthetics don’t matter at all. In trying to make their devices as beautiful and compact as possible, many companies have sacrificed durability. EDAs bring it back: these handheld computers are designed to have superior drop protection so that a simple tumble to the floor or onto another hard surface doesn’t take them out of commission.
  • Superior Waterproofing – Working out in the rain or other wet conditions isn’t a problem with EDAs. Industrial handheld computers are designed to withstand the elements if need be. Reliable waterproofing is beginning to make its way into the smartphone world, with Samsung making the feature one of the core selling points of last year’s Galaxy S5. We hope that other manufacturers will follow suit with similarly element-proof designs, but for now, EDAs are still the best option for people who know they will need connectivity and computer functionality out in the cold and rain.
  • Broader Range of Operating or Storage Temperatures – Speaking of the bitter cold, EDAs are also among the only handheld computers that can handle extreme temperatures. Just for reference, Apple says that the iPhone can operate well between the temperatures of 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. For people who work in extremely warm or cold conditions, that (relatively small) range presents a bit of a problem. With a rugged handheld computer, though, industrial workers can get online, use apps, scan barcodes, or do other things even without an optimal and comfortable temperature.

2. Physical Keyboard

Virtual touchscreen keyboards are fine for everyday texting or internet browsing, but they are not the most efficient way of typing. Not only is it very easy to misspell words (and fall victim to the dreaded autocorrect mistake), but touchscreen keyboards also don’t work well if you are wearing gloves are have extremely sweaty hands.

In other words, even if your iPhone did operate well at -20 or 110 degrees Fahrenheit, you still wouldn’t be able to get much use out of it—simply because your bare fingers would be either freezing and falling off or slipping on the screen. EDAs correct all of these issues issue with a basic physical QWERTY keyboard.

3. Barcode Scanner

Barcode scanner apps are available for every smartphone operating system, but many EDA handheld computers have been designed at least partially with barcode scanning in mind. From UPS drivers scanning a shipping label to mark a package as “Delivered”, to warehouse workers who scan incoming and outgoing products to keep track of inventory, these handheld computers are often used first and foremost as barcode scanners. As a result, they are the best tools to use for that purpose, and often come with the best application software, as well.

4. Security

Smartphone security is getting better every year, but there are still vulnerabilities in many mainstream smartphones that leave something to be desired. For instance, when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network with your smartphone, your internet browsing, texts, and emails could all be intercepted and read by a third party. With day-to-day communication, this is already problematic; when it comes to commercial or industrial payment transactions, shipping information, or other data, it could be catastrophic. The average EDA handheld computer uses a desktop-level processor—which in turn means a desktop-level operating system with desktop-level security.

5. Connectivity

Because many EDA users spend much of their time either in the field or a warehouse, they aren’t always able to get a signal on their smartphones—either through Wi-Fi or through their mobile networks. Handheld computer manufacturers like Motorola work to boost wireless signals with their EDA devices to make sure that these workers can continue doing their jobs. Indeed, Motorola has claimed that its EDA devices can “deliver high broadband and voice/data performance virtually anywhere in the world”.

Whether you are tired of losing your signal during field work or worried that your expensive and flashy new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy might get smashed during warehouse work, an Enterprise Digital Assistant might just be the perfect solution for you. If you do decide to go that route for work, make sure you also invest in rugged enterprise digital assistant case from eHolster. These devices are built to be more durable than the average smartphone or tablet, but you can never be too safe when it comes to protecting your device—especially if that device is a core component of your day-to-day work life.