The True Cost of Consumer Devices

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Posted Apr 6, 2015 7:30:00 AM by DecisionPoint Team & filed under

At first glance consumer smart phones are significantly cheaper than traditional ruggedized enterprise mobile computers with similar specifications. There are a couple reasons for this difference including ruggedizing a mobile computer requires more engineering and material thus demands a higher cost. Additionally, the sheer manufacturing volume of smart phones enable manufactures to leverage the economies of scale and thus lower the cost. However, the most significant reason for the end user price difference is that wireless carriers subsidize the device cost in order to attract customers to sign multiple year contracts for their voice and data services. This works to the benefit of enterprises that require wireless data and can utilize smart phones for their mobile needs. However, there are additional cost considerations that need to be considered such as device replacement cost and peripheral costs. Smart phones are not built to withstand excessive drops or weather. As such, if you are operating in a harsh environment you should expect a higher device failure rate that than of an enterprise class device. In addition to device replace cost, you need to consider user down time and customer service levels into the equation as device failure equates to lost productivity. The second consideration is the cost associated with any required peripherals that are required to support the smart phone. Peripherals such as barcode scanners, cases, specialized cables and battery charging equipment can significantly increase the overall cost of a consumer smart phone deployment. The facts are that consumer smart phones have significantly expanded the user base for mobile computing applications and are suitable devices in many cases. However, the prudent buyer evaluates the total cost of ownership before making a selection.

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