Motorola launches VoIP enabled barcode scanner

Motorola's takeover of Symbol delivers hybrid device for retail, hospitality, healthcare and the factory floor.

Motorola has announced a unique voice-enabled wireless scanner, a device that could significantly improve productivity as it combines a barcode scanner with voice and data communication.

The CA50 is the first device of its kind, allowing users to scan barcodes as well as have access to voice telephony and walkie-talkie style Push To Talk (PTT) communications. The devices link to a central web server within a particular environment.

"We don't believe that anybody has anything like this device and we think that it is something which is lacking from many business environments" said David Barnes, product manager at Motorola Enterprise Mobility. "In order to increase productivity, businesses need a device which costs enough to give to every associate but is also small enough for every one of them to wear and use."

Motorola acquired Symbol Technologies for $3.9 billion (1.95 billion) in 2006, giving the company a larger footing in the industrial device market, as well as giving the Symbol business access to Motorola's voice and data communications technologies.

"Motorola's expertise is with the voice and communication side of things, and Symbol as a real time mobility business is bringing the real time data capture perspective, so the logical step was to put those two core expertises together and launch a product which is low cost and with converged voice and data capabilities," added Barnes.

The product has already been announced for the US market and Motorola is preparing to start production in the UK around March. In the US the price has been confirmed at $540, and the UK price is predicted to be approximately 270. Motorola defended the price for a device which would be intended to be in the hand of every store associate by claiming it would reduce operational costs by eliminating the need for enterprises to carry purchase, carry and maintain multiple devices.

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