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Motorola Solutions unveils TC70 rugged Android handheld computer

(Image credit: Image Credit: Thomas Vanhaecht / Pexels)

Motorola Solutions launched the Symbol TC70 touch computer in New York yesterday (21 October 2014). The TC70 is the industry’s first enterprise-class mobile computer running the Android KitKat operating system. 

Following the consumerisation trend of enterprise devices, the company said the device is designed to have the look, feel and ease of use of a consumer smartphone, while still retaining the durability, reliability and performance that businesses require. 

Girish Rishi, senior vice president, Enterprise Solutions, Motorola Solutions, said at the launch: “Our customers like the feel of consumer devices. They want to use things that are intuitive and which they can just operate without any training. We are running towards consumerisation, but with our customers needs in mind. We now have seven Android devices out there.

Joe White, Mobile Computing, Motorola, said: “This year we will see growth in our Android portfolio increase by 400% year on year. The TC70 is the first of many products on the KitKat OS. 

The TC70 is designed to boost efficiency and customer service in the retail, wholesale and manufacturing industries, the TC70 is supported by more than 50 certified applications including price and inventory checks, line busting, assisted selling, workforce management and inventory management. Key features include:

Adaptable touchscreen

The TC70 features a 4.7-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 2 high-resolution display, which can automatically adjust to changing conditions so it can be used with wet fingers, gloves or a stylus. 

VoIP and Extensions (Mx)

Every TC70 is voice over IP (VoIP)-ready and equipped with Extensions (Mx) by Motorola Solutions, providing an added layer of security, manageability, data capture and wireless software features built on top of the standard Android operating system. 

White said: “The latest release of Mx allows devices to be both secure and more easily managed and it gives developers access to peripherals not available on consumer grade Android.”

Data capture and security

Mx Data Capture makes it easy for application developers to integrate bar code scanning, signature capture, image capture and payment processing. Motorola’s latest thermal imager provides 50% greater range and its fuzzy logic capability allows it to decode dirty and crumbled barcodes. 

In addition to supporting all standard Wi-Fi security protocols, Mx Security helps protect business data and network access with URL filters, communication management and sensor lock down. 

Motorola’s most advanced imaging engine and innovative data capture technology help mobile workers quickly capture signatures, photos, videos and virtually any 1D/2D bar code at an extended range. 

The TC70 features a camera on both sides - an 8Mp camera on the back designed to aid retailers in particular with proof of condition and merchandising issues. The front camera is optimised for video calling.

Push-to-talk capability

Motorola’s new Workforce Connect Push-To-Talk (PTT) Express enables the device to serve as a two-way radio right out of the box via Wi-Fi. White commented: “Voice will remain important despite the growth in social media communication. It works like a two-way radio straight out of the box, so you can have a real time conversation over Wi-Fi in a shop and you no longer need to carry a two-way radio.”

Michael Petersen, marketing at Motorola’s Enterprise division, added: “Many of our customers work in industrial environments where the ambient noise level higher. So on front of the product there are three independent microphones and we used algorithms to filter out noise. At the other end is a speaker that provides volumes that are four times (108dB) louder than the average smartphone, so when communicating with PTT both ends of the conversation can hear properly.”

Robustness and protection

With exclusive PowerPrecision batteries, fully submersible IP67 sealing and the ability to withstand high drops to concrete, the TC70 is built for all-day use on the retail store floor and in the backroom or any warehouse, distribution centre or manufacturing plant.

The TC70 is fully submersible in up to 1m of water water; it can be safely dropped 6ft onto concrete and can take a 2,000m tumble. It can also operate is temperatures ranging from -20 degrees Celsius to +50 degrees Celsius.


The TC70 is available with a comprehensive family of accessories including holsters, a magnetic stripe reader (MSR) for mobile payment and trigger-handles ideal for scan-intensive applications. 

White said: “We are using NFC technology here. We’ve enabled APIs to fully control performance and deliver automatic mobile payment ID certification. The 

Magnetic strip reader has been integrated in for the North American market and we will integrate chip and pin technology in the first half of 2015.”


It can also be used with Motorola’s new ShareCradle, a multi-slot charging system that accommodates multiple battery charge options and future Motorola mobile computers, making backroom management easy and cost-effective. 

Motorola also offers application design and porting services for Android and RhoMobile Suite, which provides powerful development tools built from the ground up for enterprise mobility applications.

Girish Rishi, senior vice president, Enterprise Solutions, Motorola Solutions, said: “Customers who have tried consumer products have found that it has cost them more money in the long run as the total cost of ownership (TCO) does not compare to enterprise-class devices. 

“The TC70 delivers the mobile experience that customers desire with smartphone usability, optimised voice and data capture functionality, durability and longer lifecycles. By combining the industry-leading features of the TC70 with Android’s KitKat operating system and the expanding library of enterprise applications, mobile workers have the mobile computer necessary to accomplish more than ever.” 

Return of the Symbol name

The device is called the Symbol TC70. Motorola acquired Symbol Technologies in 2007 for $3.9 billion and incorporated it into its Enterprise division. Commenting on the return of the name White said: “We are just a week away from merging with Zebra Technologies, so re-introducing the Symbol name moves us away from the Motorola brand, which stays with Motorola Solutions.”

The acquisition of Motorola’s Enterprise division was reinforced by the appearance of Anders Gustaffson, CEO of Zebra Technologies, at the awards event. He said: “Mobility is at the heart of Zebra and Motorola’s Enterprise business.” 

White revealed that a wide area connectivity version of the devices – the TC75, will be coming to market in the first half of 2015.

The Symbol TC50 is available for pre-order now and will be shipping in November.

Image Credit:  Thomas Vanhaecht / Pexels