Proper care of handheld devices.

Here are a few tips for taking care of cell phones, game systems, and other handheld devices.

Always keep the dust covers closed. Most handheld devices have an IP rating, which indicates dust & waterproof status. The higher the number the higher the protection against dust and water getting in. Some have a separate dust cover/protective case. That rating doesn’t matter if the cover is not used. This can void the warranty. Use a case.  It may not offer 100% protection, but some protection is better than none.

Do not abuse the device.  Some devices cost over $1000 dollars even though they may not look like it. While these are portable devices, that doesn’t mean they can withstand being dropped onto a hard surface, or tossed around. The better you treat the device, the longer it will last without needing service.

Keep the devices clean. Even though the device may be in a case, if there is something on the screen, it can cause the device to misregister a touch, which can cause problems. Remember to apply cleaning solution to the cloth or paper towel, and never directly to the screen.

If your device does become damaged or no longer functions the way it should, MRP offers repair services on a wide variety of different handheld device types and brands.  Please contact us at (708) 597-4222 for a quote. We are authorized service centers for Bluebird and Point Mobile.

One of the many handheld devices we service is the Bluebird EF500.  Below are the specifications and some of the configurations. There are also ruggedized versions that are not listed here.

Bluebird EF500

Specifications:

Brand:   Bluebird

Model: EF500

Type:     Rugged PDA / Handheld

Standard Warranty:        1 year warranty against manufacturer defects

Extended Warranty /

Service contracts:            Possible

For full warranty options please contact your sales representative.

Physical Characteristics

Dimensions:       155,6 x 77,5 x 16,5 mm

Weight:                260 grams (330 grams with Extended battery)

Keypad:               On-Screen

SIM Slot:              2 SIM Slots

SAM Slot:            1 SAM Slot

SD Card Slot:      Expandable with Micro SD card (Up to 32GB)

Interface:            Micro SD card slot / Micro USB 2.0

Standard Battery:            3.200 mAh

Extended Battery:           6.400 mAh

Hot swappable: Yes

Display

Display: 5″

Screen Resolution:          1280 x 720 HD WXGA

Touch:  Capacitive touch (Wet and Glove touch supported)

Gorilla Glass:      Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 with native damage resistance™ (NDR)

Performance

Processor:           Quad Core 1.2 GHz Processor

Operating system:           Android 6.0

Android 5.1

Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise

RAM Memory:  2 GB

ROM Storage Capacity:  8 GB Flash (Optional: 16 GB)

Communication

Modem:              4G

WLAN:  802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i

Bluetooth:          4.0 LE

Push to Talk:      Yes

GPS:      A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou

Data Capture

Barcode Scanner:             1D/2D Barcode Scanner

Front Camera:   1.3 Megapixel

Rear Camera:     13.0 Megapixel

RFID:     NFC

Smart Card Reader:         Optional

Fingerprint Scanner:       Optional

Configurations:

EF500-ANLUL

Android 6.x(Marshmallow), 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager(LED Aimer),

EF500-A4LNL

Android 6.x(Marshmallow), LTE(North America), 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 8MP Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager(LED Aimer), 1 SIM, Standard Battery(3200mAh) 

EF500-WNLE

Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, 13MP Camera, 2.0M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, 12-pin connector, Standard Battery(3200mAh)              

EF500-ANLG

Android 5.1(Lollipop), 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/8GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager         

EF500-ANLHC

Android 6.0,HEALTHCARE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/8GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager, Standard Battery(3200mAh)       

EF500-ANLT

Android 6.0(Marshmallow), 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager(LED Aimer), 1 SAM, Standard Battery(3200mAh)          

EF500-ANLJH

Android 6.0(Marshmallow), 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager(LED Aimer), Extended Battery(6400mAh), Handstrap

EF500-WNLG

Win 10 IOT Mobile Enterprise, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/8GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager

EF500-A4LD

Android 5.1(Lollipop), LTE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/8GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager

EF500-A4LQ

Android 6.0(Marshmallow), LTE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager(LED Aimer), 2 SIM, 1 SAM, Standard Battery(3200mAh)               

EF500-A4LQH

Android 6.0(Marshmallow), LTE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 1.3M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager(LED Aimer), 2 SIM, 1 SAM, Standard Battery(3200mAh), includes Handstrap        

EF500-A4LH

Android 5.1(Lollipop), LTE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera, 2.0M Front Camera, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/16GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager(LED Aimer), 2 SIM, 1 SAM, 12-pin connector, Extended Battery(6400mAh)          

EF500-W4LF

Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise, LTE, 802.11 a/b/g/n/d/h/i, AGPS, 13MP Camera with Flash, 5″ HD LCD, 2GB/8GB, BT 4.0 LE, Contactless Card Reader, 1D/2D imager            

The Importance of Established Processes in Small Business

As a small business, you may have started with only a few employees and everything you did was manageable. You probably handled service calls and inventory on your own with little to no issues. But as your business grows, and you hire additional personnel, managing the everyday tasks can suddenly become complicated. You may have many field service techs, a few inventory clerks, several office administrators, etc. You’re likely to find everyone has their own way of performing the same task, and that can often become a problem.

John may receive 10 purchase orders and process them individually, receiving one and immediately moving the parts to stock. But Bill may receive 10 purchases orders and not put any parts away until the end of the day. If you look in your inventory how do you know where to find the parts? In their stock locations or on Bill’s desk? Now is the time to establish documented processes for your everyday tasks to ensure consistency.
Established processes can ensure that every employee performs a given task in the same manner, following the same steps, and achieving the same result. They will improve accuracy and efficiency and overall can streamline your business operations.

Inventory Management Process

The first step is to identify the tasks that require an established process. Obviously, there are many things you do every day that don’t require a process. It won’t make any difference if you turn on your computer and then hang up your coat while the person next to you hangs up their coat and then turns on their computer. However, if you’re both scheduling service calls, both of you should be following the same steps to ensure accuracy. As a rule of thumb, a process should be established if more than one person performs the same task or if a task affects more than one person or department. For example, you would want a process for your field service techs to follow when performing and documenting service calls to ensure a customer always has a consistent service. You’d also want a process for your lone inventory tech to follow when receiving products, as the status of inventory affects the sales department as well as the accounting department. Every business will have different processes to document.

Once you’ve identified your tasks that require established processes it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to business. Start with a quick overview of what the task is attempting to accomplish. Are you receiving inventory, performing a service call, filing documents? Let’s say we’re having a tech perform a service call. What are the general steps that need to be performed? The tech may have to review their calls for the day to establish an efficient route, contact the customer to establish a time to arrive, gather documentation for the equipment to be worked on, and possibly request maintenance parts from inventory. Once on site they’ll need to discuss the problem with the customer, test and diagnose the equipment being serviced, order parts, schedule a return visit, and log the work they performed either on paper or in their service program. Write these down as your primary steps to be further analyzed. Review them and if needed, rearrange the order of steps always keeping efficiency and accuracy in mind.

Next, you’ll need to look at the primary steps and break them down further into secondary steps. Let’s use the example of the first step being the tech must review their calls to establish an efficient route. Can this be broken down further? Are there additional factors that affect the establishment of an efficient route? Does a customer have restricted business hours? Is the customer in a critical situation where they need to be serviced first? Write down the individual steps and determine their priority. A customer with a critical situation would take precedence over a customer who closes in the afternoon. If there’s not a critical call then perhaps the first call would be the one furthest from the techs starting location, working their way back towards home as the day progresses. Write down these secondary steps and if needed, rearrange their order. Repeat this process for every primary step until they’ve all been broken down into secondary steps.

You should now have your basic process written out in a somewhat orderly rough draft. Review the process and at each step ask yourself:
• Is this the most efficient way to perform this step?
• Is any other person or department affected by this step?
• Does performing this step at this time cause additional steps or questions?

After you’ve gone over everything it’s time to put it to the initial test. Perform the task following the steps you’ve written out. Watch for problem areas where perhaps there’s an inefficiency or a misstep. You may find you need to add steps, remove steps, or change the order of steps. Every time you make a change, rewrite the process and test it from the beginning again. Continue to test and change the process until you’re certain you’ve made it as efficient and accurate as possible with the minimal chance of error.

At this point, you’ll want to officially document the process. There are multiple ways to do this using numbered steps in a document or a spreadsheet, or you can create a flowchart to document the process. The flowchart is my personal favorite. They’re logical in that you move from one block to another. Your path through the flowchart can change by asking a question but will always move forward to some type of solution. Variables can take you to a different flowchart to perform a separate task and then return you to the original flowchart to complete the process. Whichever method you choose, document your entire process and then move it to field testing.

Gather the necessary personnel to discuss the new process. Emphasize the importance of having established procedures and ask them for feedback and suggestions on how the process can be improved. You’ll have some employees that will make great suggestions and some not so great suggestions. It’s important they follow the process as documented to help in identifying problem areas. Review any suggestions they present and decide if it makes sense to implement. You most likely will not be able to make everyone happy and utilize all their suggestions. Some people will have to change the way they do things. The bottom line is to establish a procedure that is efficient and will work for everyone.

Once you’ve finished refining the process it’s time to create the final established process document. Meet with the necessary personnel again to review the document. Identify every step and explain why the process is being done this way. Make sure every person gets their own copy and if needed have them sign for it.

You’ll need to follow up for a few weeks to monitor the process and confirm the process is being followed by everyone correctly. If possible, document the effect the process has on your business in general. Are you more efficient? Do your employees have more time on their schedule?

Established documented processes can take the complication out of daily business tasks.

Resetting Android and Windows handheld devices

We’ve all had handheld device problems. Glitches, ads popping up when you don’t even have a browser open, apps continually crashing, error messages, and turning off and not turning back on are just a few. On more than one occasion, I have been going somewhere new using Waze, Google Maps or my All Trails app and my handheld device’s screen has gone black, and the device is unresponsive. Almost all handheld devices have sealed batteries, so you can’t physically remove them to reset the handheld device. So, how do you reset something that never truly shuts down?

Soft Reset

One of the scarier issues is when a cellphone or handheld device goes completely dark and the screen will not turn back on, or the device will not power up at all. Most of us keep a close eye on battery life and know that this is not the issue, and assume the handheld device has gone  to “Electronics Heaven”. Most of the time your handheld device can recover from this, until the day that it doesn’t. This phenomena is known as the “Black Screen of Death”. The handheld device will not turn on, there is no sound, and will sometimes not even show it is plugged in or charging.

The fix for this issue is the same for Android and Apple. Hold down the power button until the handheld device starts up.

Easy, right?

Make sure to hold the button for an extra long time. It always takes longer than you expect. If you are timing it, a minute should be good. If the handheld device still does not start up, you can send it to us for repair if it is a model we support. Possible causes are usually a bad main board or power button.

Windows 10

Bluebird Mobile Data Terminals

To perform a soft reset, your handheld device needs to be turned on. Press and hold the volume down and power button until your handheld device vibrates and restarts. Do not touch the screen while you are doing this, even if the slide dialog shows on the screen.

Instances when you may need to soft reset a Windows handheld device:.

  • Apps fail to start
  • The camera will not activate
  • The unit starts to act strangely
  • The device is running down the battery or getting warmer than normal

This forces the machine to reboot, which can resolve many software related issues.

Hard reset back to factory specs.

Before doing a hard reset, be aware that this will wipe all of the data off of your handheld device except what is stored in an external card. Pictures are usually the most important things to back up on your handheld device. There are many services to backup photos that enable you to save these. Google Photos, Amazon Photos, and Microsoft OneDrive are just a few. If you have an unlimited data plan I suggest turning on the option to use cellular networks to make sure you do not lose any memories due to losing your handheld device, or a catastrophic event, like running it over with a truck. If you are using an Android device, there is a way to backup all your data to an external SD card, if your device has one.

Hard resets revert the unit back to factory defaults. This is useful to free up space, take out most viruses, reset the screen lock password, and will occasionally fix boot issues, among other things. I suggest that you check for any software updates before doing a factory reset, if the device boots up. The update could fix the problem you are having, without losing your settings and data. The software fixes can always be viewed in the changelog.

Windows 10 handheld device hard reset

The best way to reset the handheld device is through the menus, but if you cannot get the unit to boot, it is frozen on the boot screen, or is looping on the boot screen, there is a key combination you can enter to activate the reset. This key combination is the same on all Windows 10 handheld devices.

  1. Switch off the handheld device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Down button and either connect your charger, or hold the power button. When you see activity, release the power button, if it is being held. When the exclamation mark appears release the button Volume down button.
  3. Now press the keys in the following sequence, there is a small window of time to input the key combination, so if it does not work you will need to power down the handheld device and try again: Volume Up, Volume Down, Power, Volume Down.
  4. The handheld device will reset immediately and  a picture of two gears will show up. After this completes, the handheld device will reset and you will be able to use it again.

If the handheld device is unable to get to the “!” screen or still will not start properly it can be sent to us for repairs, if it is a model we support.

Android handheld devices

If you cannot get into the menus on the handheld device to perform a factory reset, you will need to go into recovery mode . Please note, Android OS 5 (Lollipop) uses Factory Reset Protection (FRP) to lock your handheld device and data if the device is stolen. If you are going through the apps/menus, you do not need to worry about the FRP, and this is also the proper way to wipe the device, if you are giving it to someone else or selling it.. In order to reset the handheld device you will need the user’s Gmail address and password to complete the process, or the handheld device will be unusable. There are ways around this but they are difficult and not always effective.

There are many different variations of Android handheld devices with many different key combinations to get into the recovery menu. For the Bluebird EF5000s, hold down “volume down” and “left scan” when starting the unit. To find the key combination for your specific handheld device, do a web search for “recovery mode” and your handheld device model (e.g. “Pixel 2 recovery mode”). Once you get into recovery mode, the handheld devices are almost all the same. Volume keys always move the selection to the next or previous item, and the power key selects what has been selected.

  1. Enter recovery mode using the key combination for your handheld device.
  2. Turn off the handled device and use the key combination required to put it in recovery mode. (See below for common key combos)
  3. Use the Volume down button to select Factory Reset/Wipe Data and press power to select.
  4. The device will ask you to confirm.
  5. Once you have confirmed your choice, the device will reset, and the time this takes varies greatly between units.

Common handheld device key combinations:

  • Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S10,  &Note: Power, Volume Up, Bixby key(this key on the left below the Volume Down) or on older models Home key at the bottom, if there is no Bixby key.
  • Nexus and Pixel: Power, Volume Up, Volume Down
  • LG G Series: Power, Volume Down

If a hard reset fails to fix the issue please contact us so we can provide information on how to send us your device for repair.

Thank you for reading,  Check back soon!