The Elite x3 is a phone for business, according to HP, and the addition of a new barcode scanner case unveiled at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 expands the feature set for businesses. It's a simple accessory built on the legacy of decades of barcode scanners, and it brings that old-school tech to a decidedly new-school format.

The unit essentially consists of two parts: a case that attaches to the Elite x3 and connects to the five pogo pins on the lower back, and a pop-on scanner module that sits near the top with a cut-out for the phone's rear camera and fingerprint scanner.

What need is there for a barcode scanner on a modern smartphone that already has its own 16MP camera? This hardware is designed and optimized specifically for barcode scanning in a way that smartphone cameras are not. The module contains three windows for an illumination light (there's nothing worse than a dimly lit barcode, right?), a laser to help you target, and the camera itself. It's a compact module that makes the handheld scanners at retail stores look positively obese. In HP's demonstrations, the scanner was incredibly fast — you just hold the button on the side of the case to activate the scanner, point it at your barcode, and *beep* you're scanning.

The barcode scanning case is positioned as a purely retail solution from HP, and I can see it being a useful addition to both the front and back of a store. While it's not likely to replace dedicated cash registers anytime soon, it could be invaluable for the sort of roving retail employees that help customers while they're shopping.

See at HP