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Back to the Future – Moto’s New RFID Sled

RFD5500 RFID Sled from Motorola SolutionsI have to admit, I had a feeling of nostalgia when I saw a press release on Motorola Solutions latest RFID offering, the RFD5500 Sled.

Way back in the early days of RFID, the readers we were stuck with included such frustrations as the Matrics AR readers and handheld manufacturers were rushing around trying to come up with handheld devices that could read RFID tags.

One of the common ways to try and do this was to add RFID sleds to existing designs (remember those really useful sleds that used to be used on the old iPAQ PDA’s? Similar idea). Some of the early RFID sleds were clearly vaporware – I remember seeing brochures that would show a plastic box clearly velcro’d to the top of a barcode scanner.

Luckily, this concept was replaced by the integrated handheld RFID reader (we bought one of the first RFID versions of the old Symbol MC9090 and it still works fine many years later).


iPAQ PDA Those were the days!

Other than Intermec’s awful IP30 device – an RFID sled disguised as ┬áthe handle of a mobile computer – the sled idea seemed to fade away into RFID folklore. Until now!

Have the engineers at Motorola Systems lost their minds? Hmm, maybe not. One of the issues with the dedicated RFID readers (other than the exceptionally well designed Intermec 70 series) is that they have that nasty big antenna  stuck on the front. They are also pricey.

What the RFD5500 offers is a low cost – well, relatively, anyway – way to bring the joy of RFID reading to existing Moto mobile computers. This will be great for companies that have already deployed a bunch of Moto handhelds for barcoding, offering them an upgrade path for RFID without having to toss out their investment.

Moto claims that the RFD5500 is designed to work with MC55N0, MC55A0, MC65 and MC67 models (maybe not all of them from day one, but that is the plan) and I’m sure will be compatible with future new Moto Solutions models.

The RFD5500 is a UHF reader – perfect for all your supply chain and inventory applications. Fitting this to the mobile computer means that both RFID tags and barcodes can be scanned (just take the sled off if you are using your device for barcode only applications) – seems good to me.

Here at ID Technology we have a lot of ways to help with your supply chain and inventory control – using both barcode and RFID technology. Feel free to call me at 603-598-1553 to discuss what we can do for you!



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