Use of mobile computers for barcode scanning, signature recording, voice and data communication and many other tasks has taken mobile employee productivity and customer service to previously unimagined levels. But it has also presented challenges to IT departments, and in business, challenges usually mean costs. In fact, studies have shown that over the life of a mobile computer, the cost of supporting it usually outweighs its purchase price by a considerable margin.
A study on mobile computer total cost of ownership (TCO) estimated annual operational expense at $710 per device/per year—this expense represents a combination of the costs of operator downtime and IT support. Compounded over a typical lifespan of five years, these costs can run as high as $3,550 per deployed device.