An aircraft mechanic uses the Zebra MC2700 to input data
By Lee Gamble | October 27, 2020

These New Keypad + Touchscreen Mobile Computers Can Be Anything Your Small to Mid-Sized Business Wants or Needs Them to Be

Whether you choose the cellular data + Wi-Fi enabled Zebra MC2700 or the Wi-Fi-only MC2200, you’ll have the workflow features and flexibility you need to meet the needs of practically any worker, any app, anywhere for years to come.

Modern mobility is all about touch computing. Yet many warehouse operators are hesitant to retire legacy devices because many warehousing, transportation and logistics workflows aren’t (yet) designed to work with a touch interface. And, if we’re being honest, there are a lot of workers who still prefer to punch in numbers using a keypad as they’re zooming through tasks. So, while it may be tempting to go all in on all-touch computers because that’s the way the industry is heading, it may not be feasible right now – and that’s okay. We’re very much in a period of transition, technologically speaking.

Fortunately, more and more technology solutions today are being designed to bridge the gap between legacy and future architectures in a way that allows for immediate efficiency gains. The new Zebra MC2700 and MC2200 rugged mobile computers are prime examples.

Bringing the Past into the Present in Preparation for the Future

New mobile devices typically mean new applications, training, expenses and risks to operations. But that’s not the case with the new Zebra MC2700 and MC2200 models.

Designed as crossover solutions from Windows® to Android™ applications, both models feature touch and key-based data input options that allow you to implement existing core business applications on the super-fast Qualcomm SD660 chipset and just-released Android 10 operating system (OS).

So, if…

  • The only thing keeping you from moving to an Android platform is the fact that your applications and workers still require a physical keypad user interface, or
  • You do not want to move all (or any) of your green screen apps to an all-touch user interface (UI) just yet, or
  • Your current mobile computers run on an outdated OS and you’re having a hard time keeping up with increasing consumer demand, or
  • You don’t currently have an automated solution for data capture and inventory management and want to move to a paperless recordkeeping system…

These devices are for you!

Plus, whenever you are ready to migrate your legacy terminal emulation (TE) applications to a modern graphical touch UI, you can add on the All-Touch TE license. Or, if you just want to convert your legacy Windows green screen TE to Android green screen mode, you can upgrade to Zebra’s Mobility DNA Enterprise Kit and purchase a Zebra TE Lite license. Either way, you’ll be able to make your preferred switch at your pace without having to rip and replace devices:

In the meantime, you’ll reap the many benefits of having all your mobile computing devices on a common OS platform and retain access to the pre-loaded Professional Mobility DNA toolkit.

Go Wherever You Want – When You Want – Without Worrying about Losing Touch

You’ve heard about the Wi-Fi struggles that many warehouse operators, manufacturers and even retailers face – and maybe even experienced them yourself. Many workers only step inside the four walls of facilities briefly before heading back outside, so signals can be spotty.

If you are looking for a mobile device that will stay connected to workflow applications and back-end systems at all times, then you’ll want to take a closer look at the MC2700 in particular. Unlike the Wi-Fi-only MC2200, the MC2700 comes equipped with WWAN and WLAN technology that facilitates seamless signal handoffs between Wi-Fi and cellular networks as your workers move into and out of your facilities, yards, ports or the field.

So, if you…

  • Feel the cost to keep up and maintain a strong Wi-Fi infrastructure is too much, or
  • Want an uninterrupted signal as workers move in and out of your facilities, or
  • Need to set up a temporary/remote warehouse to support seasonal demand and cannot justify setting up an entire wireless infrastructure for a limited time…
  • The cellular connection capabilities of the new MC2700 rugged mobile computer will greatly benefit you.

Do you need your mobile computers to wirelessly connect to other devices like head-mounted displays, headsets or printers? No problem. Both the MC2700 and MC2200 mobile computers have built-in Bluetooth® and optional Near Field Communication (NFC) pairing capabilities. Watch this:

Of course, it’s also important to have flexibility for keying in data at all times, that’s why we designed both the larger raised keypad buttons and the touchscreen display to respond to bare and gloved hand inputs.

Workflows May Change and Environmental Conditions May Vary, but Your Device Will Always Stay the Same (and Just as Effective)

No two workers, workflows or work environments are the same. But the lightweight, ergonomic and rugged design of the MC2700 and MC2200 will be suitable (and comfortable) for all of them.

Whether you need…

  • A customized keypad layout that is tailored to your specific application needs,
  • A device that can reliably and accurately scan barcodes at a high rate/frequency,
  • An optional rear camera to visually document inventory quality,
  • Mobile computers that will be connected, powered up and comfortable to use for multiple back-to-back shifts that may include stints in rainy or dusty places,
  • A clean, organized backroom (once and for all), and/or
  • Peace of mind that your device is always up-to-date and secure…

These mobile computers will deliver.

“How can one device check all of these boxes?” you may ask.

First off, the MC2700 and MC2200 aren’t your typical brick-style devices. The large keypad, hi-resolution touch screen, well-balanced center of gravity and snap-on trigger handle make these mobile computers super comfortable to use through scan-intensive shifts in the warehouse, yard and field, as you’ll see in this video:

Secondly, these mobile computers feature scan engines that make decoding barcode data in your back-end system as simple as a single, comfortable trigger pull on the front lines. We want to ensure workers can stay productive, whether they spend their days replenishing supply lines, managing inventory, loading shipping containers, delivering parcels, reading meters or installing and repairing equipment. We also want to ensure that they can read dirty, distant, faded or damaged barcodes without issue.

Scans aren’t the only way workers need to capture data, though. There are strong (split) preferences between key-based and touchscreen inputs. If you’re trying to keep up with increased demand, the last thing you want is to slow down a worker by giving them a mobile computer that doesn’t suit his or her work style or your productivity expectations. The optional 13MP rear camera gives workers a way to capture quality images for proof of condition for receiving, reverse logistics returned materials or package delivery verification. And the flexible keypad and touchscreen options (which, I realize I’ve already spoken about multiple times) will eliminate steep learning curves during the initial deployment period. In other words, the easy-to-learn Android MC2700 and MC2200 get your workers up and running quickly while being flexible enough to adapt to whatever future applications and processes you implement.

Thirdly, the MC2700 and MC2200 are designed to adapt to all of your workflows. In fact, either one can serve as the sole mobility platform for your entire business if you need (or want) it to be. That means the charging cradles can be shared by all. Your backroom will stay clean and organized, even as you add more devices and chargers to your fleet. Also, workers can swap out batteries on the go and carry on with their tasks to avoid bottlenecks. Warm swap allows the replacement of batteries without powering down the device or interrupting your working session.

Finally, I’d like to emphasize that these aren’t your typical off-the-shelf devices, either. They can be fully managed, secured and supported by Zebra OneCare™ support services and the enterprise-grade Mobility DNA software suite options. In turn, the back-office burden and IT backlog can be seamlessly reduced, if not completely eliminated.

Yes, You Can Afford a Mobility Solution Such as This One

As you can see, the MC2700 and MC2200 mobile computers are not lacking in features or functionality.  And they really aren't as expensive as you may think. Many believe that only large enterprises can afford professional-tier rugged mobile computers that universal usability and therefore dismiss them as options. Too often, smaller companies view mobility (in general) as unaffordable and, therefore, unattainable. Our minds are hard-wired to think of feature-rich devices as being costly because they are of better quality or more beautifully designed. That is, of course, not always the case. The MC2200 and MC2700 are affordable without compromising features.

The Takeaway

You no longer need to buy and manage different devices for the varying needs of each worker or workflow. Nor do you have to deploy different devices to support your wide-ranging legacy key-based and modern touch UI applications. The general-purpose MC2700 and MC2200 can support them all – and scale as needed to support whatever business needs may emerge in the coming years.

This makes mobility solution implementation, user onboarding and device management amazingly easy and the long-term value of today’s investment exponentially higher than what you would see from purpose-built workflow/worker-specific device platforms. Not to mention, the MC2700 and MC2200 both come with a host of software and support tools from Zebra’s Mobility DNA suite, which will enable your small to mid-sized business to make significant changes to your mobile workflows without needing a lot of IT support or cash.

Even if you’re super resourceful, it doesn’t benefit you to spend weeks or months trying to get your mobility solution online and optimized only to have to start all over a year or two down the road. And you certainly don’t want to have to overhaul your back-end systems just to improve workflow efficiency, worker productivity and data accuracy.

So, if you want or need a rugged, versatile, secure and cost-effective modern Android computing solution that will deliver immediate task efficiency and accuracy benefits out-of-the-box, let’s connect to talk more about how the MC2700 or MC2200 can support your business.

Editor’s Note:

Want to learn more about how these two new professional-tier mobile computers can support all of your workers and workflows inside and outside the four walls? Watch the video below and then contact us to talk about your specific needs.

Energy and Utilities, Manufacturing, Warehouse and Distribution, Transportation and Logistics, Retail, Field Operations, Hospitality, Public Sector,
Lee Gamble
Lee Gamble

Lee Gamble is currently a Senior Product Manager at Zebra where he is responsible for product lifecycle management including identifying market opportunities, product definition and design and market acceptance. Lee Gamble has more than 10 years of experience within the product management and engineering segments, has released dozens of products and is credited with numerous patents. Lee Gamble holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo. 

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