Target binning iPod Touch for Android-based Zebra TC51 handsets
Around three years ago, America’s eighth largest retailer, Target, equipped its shop floor team with the Apple iPod Touch complete in a Target-red shell containing a scanner. These iPod Touch models, called ‘MyDevices,’ are being replaced – and from the sounds of it, will end a difficult three year period for Target employees. Current Target employees have complained that the iPod Touch suffers from “all sorts of issues” including the Wi-Fi, the barcode scanner, and crucially battery life. One issue with the iPod Touch is the difficulty in replacing the battery – essentially, you can’t. This meant that employees were having to cart around an external battery to keep the iPod going during their shift, as the low battery warning would be appearing before their first break.
Target hasn’t completely dropped Apple iOS products from its stores, however. The company will still be using (and replacing) iPads for online order pickups, and managers are still condemned to use iPhones. It’s the hard working shop floor workers benefiting from the Zebra TC51, which is an Android-based device outfitted for stock and shop floor management duties. This particular device is based around the Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 chipset with a 5.0-inch display, a replaceable 4,300 mAh battery, and runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow but is showing as being compatible with future versions. Target were drawn to the Zebra device because it runs Android, which is easier to develop custom apps for, and that replaceable battery (a feature Apple has yet to invent). According to a Target spokesperson, there are almost 55,000 iPod Touch ‘MyDevice’ models in use, which means Zebra have scored a significant order!
Apple is likely not going to be bothered by losing the iPod Touch contract. The company hasn’t discussed sales of the iPod Touch for some years now and is instead concentrating on reinventing existing features, preying on consumer ignorance, and upping the price of its iPhone models.