Mobility is here to stay. Handheld scanners unleash productivity and power. So now the question is: iOS vs. Android?

In 2014, Target rolled out iPods to team members known as “MyDevices.” The devices were used for sales floor duties. This past July, Target announced that they’ve migrated from iPods to Android-based devices. Why the comeabout?

Current and former Target employees on Reddit’s unofficial employee forum, The Breakroom, explained: “The current iOS my devices we have all sorts of issues, connection issues, scanner issues, and tons more,” one Breakroom poster complained. A former store manager wrote: “the iPod hardware they used as on the floor scanners for employees died quickly and there was no way of swapping in new batteries. There were many hardware issues that came about with the ipods.”

Lack of removable battery was the Achilles heal for Target

Removable batteries appear to be the biggest draw for store staff. A current employee told Gizmodo over email “the stores had no way to change batteries in them. They would die quickly. We would have to use external battery’s device or cables to charge them.” The Target spokesperson confirmed that battery life was a major consideration, as was Android’s flexibility to develop apps for.

Let’s drive this home further: Target stores do not operate 24x7 and the lack of removable battery was an Achilles heal for employees. Jails never, ever close. Do you have any device, anywhere in your detention facility, that doesn’t have a removable battery? Probably not.

Radios: removable batteries.

Tasers: removable batteries.

Flashlights: removable batteries.

Automated External Defibrillators: removal batteries.

Mobility in corrections is here to stay. How to make the right choice.

Here are a few additional questions to ask yourself to make the right choice for handheld scanner solution:

  1. What data are you collecting and how do you want to collect it? (e.g. RFID or QR Code.) And if you’re confused about what a QR code is, here’s a convenient Wikipedia article about QR Codes.

Bonus question: is there any chance that someone can falsify the log through duplication or manipulation with the method of data collection I choose? (Hint: QR codes are easy to dupe and destroy -- by inmates and staff.)

2. Who developed the application for the handheld scanner? Is your jail management system vendor pushing its own handheld scanner? If so: are you happy with your jail management system? How much product development dedication will your jail management system devote to its own handheld scanner?

3. How do you charge your handheld scanner? Does it support a docking cradle or micro-USB port?

4. Does your handheld scanner have mobile device management software? If so, can it track device locations?

5. Is the handheld scanner you’re considering the same device your teenager users to snapchat?