Zebra MC18 Series|
Updated version of the Symbol Personal Shopper
(by Conrad Blickenstorfer)
The MC18 personal shopping device, a "portable self-scanning terminal," was introduced in 2014, almost a decade after the initial MC17 designed by Symbol Technologies. When the MC17 was first unveiled as a concept design, few would have predicted that the novel personal shopper scanner would eventually be installed in over 2,000 stores and account for almost a million transactions per day. Not surprising as retailers using the devices report substantially increased sales per shopper.
Zebra calls the MC18 the 5th generation of the personall shopper, and while the basics of the concept remain unchanged, the technology of the device has certainly evolved.
Whereas the original MC17 ran Windows CE 5.0 on a tiny 2.8-inch screen and a Marvell PXA270 processor, the MC18 is thoroughly modern. Its 4-inch 480 x 800 pixel capacitive touch display is sharp and crisp, the device now uses a much quicker 1GHz TI OMAP 4430 processor, and it can run either Android 4.4 "KitKat" or Windows Embedded Compact 7. Communications, both wired and wireless, have been upgraded for speed and convenience as well.
What all this means is that customers shopping with an MC18 essentially have a modern smartphone with custom software that provides a significantly enhanced shopping experience. The MC18 can be used to check prices, locate items, find complementary products, get personal recommendations, and finally check out quickly and efficiently.
The potential of a personal shopper device remains endless, and its application is limited only by the imagination of innovative store managers and good programmers.
As is, the MC18 is also tough enough to survive multiple 4-foot drops, a thousand half-meter tumbles, and take the general day-to-day abuse in a retail environment. Zebra offers a wide variety of accessories for the MC18. IT includes various types of cradeles and cradel accessories, various connection methods, various charging methods, as well as tools, deployment kits and mounting methods.