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Motorola MC3090-Z

Business-class handheld RFID reader
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

In December of 2009, Motorola introduced the MC3090-Z, a special version of its successful MC3000. The MC3090-Z addresses a very specific need, that of providing a rugged, reliable RFID reader for field service and business environments. The new machine is based on the MC3000, a device that sold over 750,000 units over the past four years.

According to Motorola, the MC3090-Z is the lightest high-performance handheld reader in its class and also the first to use a dual-axis antenna that combines the advantages of two types of antennas: linear polarization for a longer read range or circular polarization for wider coverage. The whole device is designed for versatile use in numerous high-growth application segments such as item-level traceability in retail and asset management. In addition, the unit's orientation-insensitive RFID data capture makes it ideal for item-level applications such as retail cycle-counting, inventory and asset tracking.

The MC3090-Z is powered by a 520MHz Marvell PXA270 processor, has 128MB of RAM and a gigabyte of Flash, and runs Windows Mobile 6.1. Its 3-inch square color display has 320 x 320 pixel resolution and a touch screen. It has a 48-key alphanumeric keypads. There is no mention of the SDIO slot which is part of the base MC3000. On the wireless side, the device can incorporate Bluetooth and 802.11a/b/g WiFi.

On the software side, the MC3090-Z series is compatible with Microsoft Biz Talk Server 2006 R2 and supports applications written with Microsoft.NET 2.0-based APIs, allowing customers to host applications directly on the reader.

One might wonder why Motorola chose the MC3000 as the basis for its new RFID reader instead of the recently introduced (November 2009) MC3100 that represents a well-executed update and enhancement of the company's best-selling MC3000 platform. A Motorola representative replied that "with pent up demand for a device of this nature, we had to start development much earlier than release of the mc3100, making the MC3000 the appropriate platform." Gioven that the MC3000 platform is not obsolete by any means, that was a reasonable decision.

Update: In November 2010, the MC3000-based 3090 was replaced, as expected, by the 3190, which is indeed based on the MC3100.

Added/changed Added 12/2009, updated 12/2010, 04/2013
Form-factor Rugged handheld RFID reader
CPU Speed Marvell XScale PXA270/520 MHz
OS Windows Mobile 6.1
Card slots Apparently none
Display type Color TFT
Display size/res 3.0"/320 x 320 pixel
Digitizer/pens touch/1
Keyboard/keys 48-key alphanumeric keypad
Navigation directional control, triggers
Housing impact-resistant plastic
Operating Temp 14 to 122F
Sealing IP54
Shock Multiple 4-foot drops
Tumble 500 0.5 m tumbles (1,000 drops)
Size (WxHxD) 4.7 x 7.6 x 6.4 inches
Weight 23 oz. (incl. battery and strap)
Power 3.7V, 4,400 mAH Li-Ion
Interface RS232, USB (host and client), 1D laser, RFID
Wireless 902-928MHz 1-watt EIRP RFID, 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth
List price inquire
Contact www.motorola.com
Brochure MC3090-Z brochure
Windows Mobile Info
  • Windows Mobile 6
  • Windows Mobile 5
  • Windows Mobile Smartphone
  • Windows Mobile 2003
  • Windows CE .Net
  • Windows for Pocket PC 2002
  • Pocket PC intro 2000
  • Windows CE H/PC Pro 1998
  • Windows CE 2.0 1997
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