Motorola unveils durable handheld for field sales

MC35 includes native GPS and bar code scanning

Motorola Inc. will unveil today the MC35 Enterprise Digital Assistant, described by the company as a durable handheld designed to meet the needs of field sales personnel.

The MC35 will initially be branded as a Symbol device, since it was first developed at Symbol, the handheld maker that Motorola acquired in January, said Sheldon Safir, director of product marketing for the enterprise mobility business.

"It's an all-in-one enterprise device for the mobile worker, and will be great for field sales workers across many vertical segments," such as pharmaceutical sales, real estate or insurance sales, he added.

The MC35 is designed with longer product life than consumer devices and will come with comprehensive coverage as part of an annual service fee that "covers everything," he said. "For three years, if you break it, we'll fix it."

The Motorola MC35 Enterprise Digital Assistant

The Motorola MC35 Enterprise Digital Assistant In addition, IT support staff at companies using the MC35 will find it easier to support through Motorola's Management Software Platform.

The MC family already included the durable MC50 and the rugged MC70. The MC35 will range in price from $640 to $765, depending on configuration, Safir said.

Notable features include a color camera with 2 megapixel resolution that can be used to read one dimensional barcodes. "Bar code reading would not be an intense use, but a salesperson would do occasional scanning," Safir noted.

In addition, the device will ship with built-in GPS from TeleNav Inc. and push-to-talk capabilities, Safir said.

The device supports Bluetooth v 1.2, 802.11b/g, and EDGE, GPRS and GSM. It is 5 by 2.59 by .81 inches and weighs 6.5 ounces with the standard lithium ion 3.7 volt battery. It includes a 2.8 inch color display.

It runs Windows Mobile 5.0 Premium Phone Edition and has 64/128MB of memory. It uses Intel's XScale PXA270 416 MHz processor.

More than 25 enterprise applications can be ported to the device.

Tim Scannell, an analyst at Shoreline Research, said the MC35 is "based on relatively old" integrated circuit technology and the same Symbol device family from a year ago. "It seems to be just another messaging device in a very crowded field," Scannell said. "Granted, it has built-in GPS, but that doesn't have any real sparkle in today's market."

Motorola CEO Ed Zander last week announced a reduction in expected Motorola revenues because of poor sales from mobile devices, and he pointed specifically to the need for a high-end consumer device.

Against that backdrop, Scannell said Motorola needs to focus on what it does best, which is communications capabilities. He urged Motorola to purchase Palm Inc. to gain its successful Treo line. A purchase of Palm by Motorola has been rumored since at least mid-February, but neither company would comment. Such a purchase would help Motorola in its consumer products, separate from the enterprise-focused MC35, analysts said.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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