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Zebra MC17 Series

Light and handy industrial Retail Mobile Computer
(by Kirk Linsky)

The MC17 Retail Mobile Computer is a "portable self-scanning terminal" that's been around for a good many years. Since it does everything it needs to do, there hasn't been a need to update this innovative handheld just for the sake of it. So the MC17 is still running Windows CE 5.0 Professional on a 312MHz or 520MHz Marvell PXA270 processor.

Note that this is not a general purpose light industrial Pocket PC or handheld computer. Instead, the MC17 was designed from the start as a retail shopping tool. The idea here was to give shoppers an unprecedented shopping experience where they use the small 9.5-ounce terminal to check prices, locate items, find complementary products, get personal recommendations, and finally check out quickly and efficiently.

The potential here seemed endless, but whether it was a realistic proposition remained to be seen when the MC17 was first introduced. Given that in 2015, the MC17 is still around, we assume the device found enough application and supporters to keep it around and available.

As is, the MC17 is an elegantly designed and ultra-ergonomic handheld with a 2.8-inch 240 x 320 pixel QVGA display, onboard 802.11b/g WiFi, a laser scanner, and enough battery power to run for a good eight hours. It's tough enough to survive multiple 4-foot drops, 500 half-meter tumbles, and take the general day-to-day abuse in a retail environment. Programmable buttons make the device easy to use.

The MC17 comes in two versions. The MC17A is the basic model whereas the MC17T adds a touchscreen, a faster processor and more memory via an additional gigabyte of SD storage.

Part of a long series of critically acclaimed Symbol Technologies designs, the MC17 has been honored with three of the industry's most prestigious industrial design awards, including the International Design Excellence Award, iF Product Design Award and Good Design Award.

Specifications Zebra MC17
Added/changed Added 05/2008, updated 04/2009, 12/2015
Form-factor Portable scanning terminal
CPU Speed Marvell PXA270/312 or 520MHz
OS Windows CE 5.0 Professional
RAM/ROM 64MB/64MB
Card slots 17T model has 1GB of SD Card memory
Display type High contrast TFT LCD
Display size/res 2.8-inch/240 x 320
Digitizer/pens touch (17T only)/1
Keyboard/keys NA
Navigation nav controls, stylus
Housing impact-resistant plastic
Operating Temp 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)
Sealing NA
Shock 4 feet to concrete
Tumble spec 500 .5m (1.64 ft.) tumbles (1,000 drops)
Size (WxHxD) 2.3 x 8.1 x 3.2 (inc. pistol grip)
Weight 9.5 ounces
Power 2,400 mAH Li-Ion ("up to 8 hours")
Interface USB 1.1 Client, laser scanner
Wireless 802.11b/g WiFi
List price Inquire
Web MC17 web page
Brochure MC17 Spec Sheet