Mobile Computer Terminals: An Introduction

by ScanSource Technical Services on November 1, 2010 · 0 comments

in Mobility,ScanSource POS & Barcode,Technical Education Portal,Technology,Wireless

What is a Mobile Computer?

Simply put, a mobile computer is a fully programmable portable computing device that can connect to a networking infrastructure via cable or wireless to transfer data through either a real-time or batch process.

In this course, we will outline the features of many types of Mobile Computing Products.

These types include:

Hand-Held Computers

Wearable computers

Vehicle mount computers

All three types do pretty much the same function just in different environments.

Characteristics include:

  • Operating systems – Mobile Computers have some kind of operating system or interface for user interaction.
  • Displays – Most common are QVGA color touch screens. Lower end units may have smaller monochrome screens.
  • Keypads – A range of keypad options allow for input using alpha or numeric characters.
  • Scan Engines – Many of the same scan engines used in tethered scanners are used in mobile computers. Cameras are also optional features in some devices.
  • Radio options – WWAN, WLAN and WPAN radio technologies are often available to communicate with data and voice networks, as well as mobility peripherals such as printers.

In order to do this, the mobile computer must run an operating system and some type of custom software application.

While the software applications are pretty much limited to the developers imagination, the possible operating systems available are:

  • Windows CE
  • Win PocketPC
  • Windows Mobile
  • DOS
  • Palm OS
  • Proprietary operating systems are still available but no longer as popular as they once were


Mobile computers have a variety of communications options:


These technologies include Bluetooth and IRDA. Bluetooth is becoming very popular for peripherals such as printers and audio headsets.


Wireless Wide Area Network includes radios, such as GSM/GPRS and CDMA, for communicating voice and data over a cellular network.


Wireless LAN, or WiFi, radios allow mobile computers to connect to a local network through wireless infrastructure. Current radios support 802.11a and/or 802.11b/g depending on the manufacturer.

This post was written by

Our experienced, trained technical support team is ready to go to work for you. Whether you need pre-sale support, installation help, or warranty and financing information, we can help. You can also access industry information from a wide variety of sources at our technical knowledge portal. Instead of sorting through the websites of 50 or more manufacturers to find out about products and programs, you can use our categorized search engine to locate information of any type about any technology offered by ScanSource. Just type in your query, and you're on your way. Contact our Technical Support Team at 800.944.2439 ext. 4002. Our staff is available from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. EST.

Learn more about this topic at >

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: