I find it interesting that all the manufacturers of industrial mobile devices have noticed that while they have some nice rugged mobile computers in their product lines, a lot of people don’t want to use them because they are too big and bulky. What many users want is something m0re Blackberry or iPhone sized.
As a result, a new product class is appearing, the Tough Smartphone – I wrote about Symbol’s effort here.
Intermec’s entry into the contest is the brand new CS40 – a tough smartphone that shares a lot of features with Intermec’s CN series.
The CS40 comes with all the features you would expect – a decent barcode scanner, Bluetooth, all the flavors of WiFi and of course, voice and data over GSM networks.
Seems to me that the CS40 would be a nice addition for companies already deploying Intermec mobile computers and would be perfect for employees wanting something a bit more stylish than the slab-like CN series. The CS40 certainly does look to be a polished little mobile device.
I must confess though, I’m not sure about this segment of products. It seems to be neither here nor there – a company needing intensive data collection is going to use a CN or MC70 device and I can’t see executives rushing to swap out their Blackberries, Droids or iPhones for a Windows Mobile phone with a low resolution QVGA screen that you can prod with a stylus.
What do you think? Am I missing something and the Tough Smartphone really is the “next big thing”? Am I the only one wanting to see Android used in these kinds of device, rather than being stuck with Windows Mobile?
Update: I noticed that Intermec has posted an interesting article by industry guru David Krebs covering thoughts on why a tough smartphone can provide lower TCO than a consumer phone. Head over to the Intermec site here to check it out.