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HP Elite x3 barcode scanner case targets retail workforce

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 (opens in new tab)

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

19 Comments
  • Hope this phone available in turkey legally . Turkish peoples shameless on ms products i mean ( windows os ) either lumias . There is no agent here . Shameless
  • This kind of stuff could help make Windows mobile more popular in retail. More popular in retail= employees using and getting familiar with the platform= possibly more people getting one for personal use? One can only hope
  • Google has occupied retail stores with their buggy android os on a device called "MC 40". It used to be Windows Mobile on telxon. Microsoft should try to do something about that
  • lol I know what you talking about, they are terrible. Google has abandoned more projects than Microsoft but no one talks about it.
  • I think you refer to Motorola or Symbol devices.
    While itinically they wanted to bring their flagship only with Android, they now also started working with Win10 IoT.
  • Good to see that HP is stepping up where MS does not. I hope they will actually make some money on it, so far I have not seen an X3 in the wild apart from mine. You would almost think they know something we don't, rationally speaking it does not make sense to invest in an OS that the developer is barely committed to. 👍 HP
  • I haven't either. But it's nice to know I'm not alone! Great phone isn't it ^^!
  • I have seen at least ten... I only associate with business types.... ups and FedEx still use windows based devices for deliveries in canada.
  • This is awesome!
  • Beep BEEP
  • The X3 Is reminding me of the IPaq days when Windows Mobile was king and they had all sorts of scanner type devices and LOB apps.
  • Can you design modules like these for secure online payments?
  • This is something I'd be interested in knowing as well.
  • Note that there are other barcode scanning devices powered by Windows 10 Mobile from Zebra, Honeywell, and Bluebird. The HP is unique though in that it starts with a prosumer device and not a fully rugged device.
  • Zebra and Honeywell are by far the biggest two in this space, and hp have no chance in making a big dent in their market share. I supply both of those brands to blue chip retail and t&l companies in the uk. It's great to see hp doing this though, I'm hopefully going to get one of these for my x3.
  • So, several days into MWC and the biggest thing in W10M is a barcode scanner.  Bummer.
  • Why does clicking on See at HP not take me to the site? But to comments?
  • Impressive sleak looking add on!  Really well done. If this is not reliant on a specific HP app but can scan right to keyboard then it's an awesome win.  My use case would be to have web app open and if I want to scan in inventory codes, put my finger on the field, initiate barcode scanner, beep!, number appears in the field. Anyone there can find out?
  • Let's ******* go best buy. Our scanners are ****