Opticon H22 Handheld Computer|
Competent, rugged Windows Mobile-based handheld computer and data collection device
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
The Opticon H22 was introduced on March 16, 2012 as a smart barcode scanner handheld for applications such as logistics and carrier service, postal delivery, field service and sales, facilities management and security. It's essentially a ruggedized Pocket PC (as Microsoft used to call them), or now simply a Windows Mobile handheld.
The hardware is based on the speedy 806MHz version of the Marvell PXA320 processor, with 256MB of RAM and 512MB of Flash, and storage expandable via a user-accessible microSDHC card slot. The software is Windows Mobile 6.5.3, now also known as Windows Embedded Compact or Embedded Handheld. That's the version that has a somewhat more modern looking Start screen, but everything underneath will be familiar to any Windows Mobile user.
The H22 measures about 3 x 6 inches and is an inch thick. The footprint is therefore no larger than that of today's rapidly growing smartphones, despite the presence of PDA-standard buttons and a full numeric keypad (a QWERTY version is available as well). The display measures 3.7 inches diagonally and has full 480 x 640 pixel VGA resolution. Specs describe it as using Blanview, a Casio-developed transmissive screen technology that looks brighter indoors and doesn't need a backlight outdoors.
Since the H22 is primarily designed as a data capture device, it's available with an integrated 1D laser scanner, a 1D/2D CMOS imager, an RFID reader (its antenna is integrated into the battery cover), and there's also a 3.2mp auto-focus camera with flash illuminator. Signatures can be captured either with this camera or directly on the touch screen.
For communication, there's 802.11b/g/n WiFi (including Voice over IP), Class 2 Bluetooth 2.1 with enhanced data rate, and GPRS/EDGE as well as3G or 3.5G WWAN. The H22 also has, a rarity these days, a version 1.4 IrDA port. On the wired side there's USB OTG (On The Go) host and client. And, of course, there's AGPS.
The Opticon H22 also has impressive ruggedness specs. There's a very wide operating temperature range (14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit), it survives five feet drops onto concrete, and it's sealed to IP65 specifications where the "6" means it's totally dust-proof, and the "5" that it can handle low-pressure water jets from all directions (albeit with limited ingress permitted, which we never like to see).
What all this means is that with the H22, Opticon offers a very competent ruggedized handheld computer that combines phone, mobile computing, communication, and data collection functionality. The good news is that the H22's technology is time-tested and mature both on the hardware and the software side. But there is also a rapidly increasing gulf between ever more powerful consumer smartphones that use Android or the iOS on capacitive multi-touch screens, and industrial handhelds that still run Windows Mobile which doesn't seem to have an upgrade path. As long as this is not an issue, the H22 certainly covers many bases and seems very well equipped to handle the mobile tasks and applications it was designed for.
Opticon is a worldwide supplier of automatic identification and data collection equipment. The company, which is based in the Netherlands and has been around for over a quarter of a century, was an early manufacturer of barcode scanners and from there branched out into a large variety of data collection modules and devices, as well as ruggedized handhelds such as the H22 described on this page. Opticon has a sales office in Renton, WA.