Of all the toys Mauricio has thrown my way this has to be one of the most interesting. It’s the LaserChamp Bluetooth barcode scanner and the accompanying software, Serial Magic. And while it’s of little user to me, any of you involved in using your handhelds for business may just find it fills a niche.
The unit itself is about the same size as my T3 or my Logitech Mouseman – slightly smaller than a checkout scanner, with a single button to activate and powered by 3 AA batteries. It weighs about the same as the T3 and is nicely styled, fitting comfortably into a pocket. It has a serial connector at the bottom of the unit, but you’d have to be mad to use that when you’ve got Bluetooth support built in.
On the Palm it’s devilishly easy – install the supplied SerialMagic software, activate the scanner and pair them up. Then you can start scanning. I had no problems scanning within about 4m of the T3 and the scanner was quick and accurate. By default it will just enter the scanned code into the input stream of the Palm – you do not need any special support in your target application.
The SerialMagic software offers one more feature which is likely to appeal though – UI scripting. Instead of just entering data into a text field, it has the ability to fake a tap on a component or button, thus potentially eliminating the need to process the data manually between each scan - which could be handy if you’re four metres away. It also makes using a tool like SmartListToGo very simple with the scanner.
Light and compact size
Code automatically entered from scanner
So if you’ve got (or are looking at) a handheld based inventory/sales system then this could be the tool for you. It’s as simple as point and click, easy to set up and works with your existing software. And it’s not just for the Palm – SerialMagic also offers support for the Pocket PC, Zaurus, Windows, MacOS X and Linux (x86) devices.