Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Iphone United States Apple Hardware Technology

Target's Sales Floors Are Switching From Apple To Android Devices (gizmodo.com) 137

After three years of Apple products, Target is moving to Android devices for stocking, pulling items, and other essential sales floor duties. Target first outfitted its employees with Apple products in 2014, replacing PDAs with iPod Touches. Gizmodo reports: In Fall of 2016, Target stores began testing the Zebra TC51, which runs Android 6.0 Mashmallow and was confirmed to Gizmodo as "the new MyDevices for store team members chainwide" by a company spokesperson over email. On Reddit's r/Target page and the unofficial employee forum The Breakroom, the new devices have been met with enthusiasm -- and plenty of jabs at the old iOS scanners. "The current iOS my devices we have all sorts of issues, connection issues, scanner issues, and tons more," one Breakroom poster complained. On Reddit, a former store manager wrote that "the iPod hardware they used as on the floor scanners for employees died quickly and there was no way of swapping in new batteries. There were many hardware issues that came about with the ipods." While a Target spokesperson confirmed the company will still purchase some products from Apple -- iPads for online order pickups, iPhones for managers -- the sales floor is switching to Android, and the company is staffing up on Android developers to port over all the internal software stores use.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Target's Sales Floors Are Switching From Apple To Android Devices

Comments Filter:
  • by fred6666 ( 4718031 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @08:35PM (#55192713)

    No business should use a single source product/solution when there is an equal alternative with multiple vendors.
    In that case, if Target even runs into trouble with Samsung, they can easily switch to LG or whatever. It would be even better if they were not dependent on Google for the OS, but having multiple hardware vendors is a good start.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Confirming that hospitals love having all sorts of equipment from different vendors none of which are compatible with each other, with different training required for each unit type not to mention different maintenance, etc. It's just paradise. Oh wait, what kind of business were you referring to? Retail business? Yeah ok.
      • It would be much worse for the hospital if they used equipment from a single vendor. That vendor could raise prices without any limit because the cost for the hospital to switch out to something else would be too expensive.

        The best is to have open standards, and many vendors.

    • In real life companies single source, because (1) in real life they single source stuff anyway, (2) they're buying a solution not a technology, and (3) single sourcing is a guarantee that everything works together.

      The fact is, the vendor is choosing the underlying hardware, which is probably white label that's factory-direct. Target chose the vendor for its end-to-end solution. Target doesn't really give a shit what hardware the vendor is using, as long as it fulfills the requirements.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        In real life companies single source.

        really? what vendor even does that any more? please name a company that makes both servers and software

        IBM, HP, Oracle are all dying

      • You confuse single source and vertical integration. They are not the same.

      • In real life companies single source, because (1) in real life they single source stuff anyway, (2) they're buying a solution not a technology, and (3) single sourcing is a guarantee that everything works together.

        You missed the point. It's not about single sourcing, it's about locking yourself into whole source change and becoming dependent on a vendor. To address your points:
        1. They will do this anyway, they are just switching to a platform that allows them to move if a vendor doesn't play along.
        2. Depends on the company. It looks like they are developing the solution themselves, and even if they aren't they are more likely to find solution providers on an open multi-vendor platform.
        3. You just made me laugh, cry,

    • Funny, I was thinking the opposite. Apple seems to support their hardware for much longer periods of time than Android devices--both in software updates and in the ability to purchase replacement hardware. Androids aren't enough of a commodity to swap out different devices and expect software or hardware (which likely includes a form-fitting case) to work. I can see ditching iPod Touch, though. I wouldn't be surprised if Touches gets discontinued and iPhones or iPads aren't worth the cost.
      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        "Apple seems to support their hardware for much longer periods of time than Android devices--both in software updates and in the ability to purchase replacement hardware."

        Not sure what your point is. Are you saying Apple will be happy to sell you a replacement device, but Android manufacturers won't? And about that "hardware support." Ever heard of "Made for iPod", the formal Apple program which promised compatibility (well, for maybe 30 days after the product was discontinued)? Heck, my old Moto Droid wil
    • Unless Target is developing their in-house(or contracted; but with more say over the product than your basic shrinkwrap consumer) against Google Play Services (or, even more foolishly, some OEM's pet extensions); they aren't really all that dependent on Google.

      AOSP isn't really designed to be turned into an end-user-ready phone; and lacking Play store, the various Google apps and services, etc. is typically a deal breaker unless you swap in your own (as with Amazon); but if you are treating it as a subst
      • AOSP isn't really designed to be turned into an end-user-ready phone;

        Who told you that? Why did you believe it? I've run AOSP on my phone before, in the form of SOKP, and it was a joy. Absolute minimum bullshit.

        and lacking Play store, the various Google apps and services, etc. is typically a deal breaker unless you swap in your own (as with Amazon);

        What? No. You can install gapps on AOSP.

        • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

          You can't install gapps legally on AOSP. Google requires a license for them, and only licenses them to OEMs that agree to a large number of provisions (and pays them). THey're widely available, but you are pirating them.

        • I'm aware of the various unofficial options; which work alright as long as the application you are trying to use doesn't actually rely more or less heavily on Google Play Services-provided APIs, in which case things tend to go downhill; but that isn't really an option if you are large enough for legal exposure to be a problem.

          As for 'isn't really designed to be turned into an end-user-ready phone"; I agree that it can be done; and the experience can actually be pleasant in a minimalist sort of way; but w
    • The lesson is more that specialized hardware works better than commodity, mass-market hardware once the innovations from mass market can be passed down. The new device has a built-in laser scanner and presumably replaceable batteries, apparently two major limitations of using a generalist device.

      When I look at the Apple Store employees with their iPhone backpacks for credit card transactions and lasers, I think they should be more like Target, sadly.

    • I have developed apps for the TC51 and strangely there are not that many rugged android devices out there with integrated scanners, good ones anyway with well designed and documented libraries for getting scanner input (data wedge wasn't feasible). Even though the the OS is the same on different devices the libraries are proprietary, so switching between vendors is not as easy as you would think.
  • but not for what they use. hypoc on display. quote: Target Corp. has reportedly demanded exclusivity from its suppliers when it comes to some of the chain’s best-selling products. According to an article in Internet Retailer, the chain feels undercut by e-retailers offering the same products for less money. Exclusivity would mean that if you want that sleek Michael Graves Tea Kettle, the only place you’ll find it will be at a Target store or on Target.com.
  • So they took a sleek consumer device and strapped an aftermarket 3rd party barcode scanner onto it and wondered why the hardware behaved like a big kludge?

    • Re:What scanner? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @09:17PM (#55192849) Homepage

      > So they took a sleek consumer device and strapped an aftermarket 3rd party barcode scanner onto it and wondered why the hardware behaved like a big kludge?

      Suuure. A PC with a peripheral attached is a "big kludge".

      • Re:What scanner? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by redmid17 ( 1217076 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @10:06PM (#55192961)
        An iPod is not a touch is not a PC. Kinda wondering why they didn't give it a power-supply case but I don't know if that's possible because of the barcode scanner. If an app could not have sufficed, I am guessing that inadequate testing went into entire process anyway. Android has been far more open with third party accessories and apps than Apple devices -- I say this as an owner of both but a user of primarily iPod/iPhone tech. I really really hope that Target is bothering to test. Many of my clients never bother to.

        I develop develop/enable mobile barcode scanning for a few platforms as a developer, so this is not a subject I'm alien to. There is a very good chance that the app they use is less stable or more power intensive than the ones I develop for. Then again, that would just go back to shitty testing (much to my surprise).
      • by Ayano ( 4882157 )
        It's also not a 3rd party scanner. They're developed by symbol technologies which was acquired by Motorola Solutions which was then acquired by Zebra Technologies hence making it 1st party.
    • The summary says they are porting their apps to android. The sequence could be develop some bad iOS apps that don't work blame iOS and move to android ;)

    • iPod in a scanner sled actually works really well, right up to the point the battery swells or wears out. Then you yank the iPod out of the sled, and waste time sending someone to the Apple store to swap out the entire device since Apple's battery replacement program is really an $80 device replacement program. Then the devices come back to IT for provisioning and reassembly, and finally back on the warehouse floor.

      This is what we're faced with today in our business as well. The iPod in a sled has worked

  • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @09:08PM (#55192821)

    "The current iOS my devices we have all sorts of issues"

    Apparently the Android grammar checker ain't so hot.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "my device" is internal Target jargon for the tool. The old hardware was called a PDA and to distinguish the iPods and now Androids from the old PDA hardware someone decided to call them a "my device". They also brilliantly decided to name all the apps on it with "my" as a prefix.

      Also when the switch was made to the iOS devices there was no decent business grade Android or Windows equivelant. So choosing iOS wasn't such a bad idea. And, most development was done using HTML5 and phone gap. So conversion

  • Honestly... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @09:15PM (#55192843)

    It's for specific cases like these that I wanted to see Linux distros getting a true, solid working mobile commercial version with continuous support and enterprise/business adoption...
    And yes, I know Android is based on a Linux kernel, but I'm talking more like Ubuntu Mobile expanding and going forward, or something else.

    Because honestly, I'm not sure how much replacing iOS devices with Android devices in cases like these will help. Fanboyism aside, Android devices have as many if not more potential problems in comparison to Apple stuff, particularly in business and enterprise scenarios.

    Connection issues, scanner issues? Android devices also have those. Replaceable batteries? Perhaps the company they closed a deal with (Zebra) still has devices with replaceable batteries, but this is clearly going away on Android devices in general... I think the last flagship phone that had it was the LG V20, and the update to it (V30 released recently) is sealed with no easy replacement for battery. Not even cheaper phones or phones with alternative markets (active lines, rugged lines, etc) are coming with the option anymore.

    They'll eventually have to go with external battery cases and whatnot.

    How would a Linux mobile help? Well, I guess it really depends how the whole implementation would work really... and it wouldn't be easy. But it'd really be best not to get tied to Google or Apple for cases like those, to have an OS that could be installed in multiple mobile configurations, to have access to code to configure it down to devices' specific functions, etc etc.

    When you are on iPods, iPads, iPhones, or Android devices you are basically running a whole bunch of useless crap on top of the software you really need for sales floors and warehouse management. Not to talk about privacy and security worries, the world could really use right now an alternative to big corporation devices for tasks like these.

    And I'm no Linux fanatic myself... Android phone user and Windows 10 desktop here. It's just that I think the lack of competition in this area is bringing a whole lot of problems recently.

    • Re:Honestly... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by chuckugly ( 2030942 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @09:23PM (#55192863)
      At least w/ Android they have a chance of getting a custom device with some or all of that built in. It's possible to get some pretty specialized Android devices as a mere consumer, for instance a rugged phone with FLIR camera is available, as are rugged phones with integrated 2-way shortwave radios.
      • This!. Linux changes nothing. Android is already quite open enough when you don't need to rely on Google Play services. The whole point is that special purpose devices can be made for Android, but not for iOS. Switching to Linux changes nothing about this.

    • Re:Honestly... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sgunhouse ( 1050564 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @10:09PM (#55192975)
      We use Zebra handhelds at Wal-mart, though not that model (ours are MC-40 and TC-70 models). They have a built-in camera-based scanner and removable batteries. We've used the MC-40 for over a year, the TC-70 for a bit less, and they seem reliable. Once in a while the scanner stops working after waking from sleep and you need to reboot to get it to work, but other than that I've had no issues with them. They are locked down to the point I can't say which version of Android they use, but I know it is Android. (Not being in an IT role I don't have Admin rights on the devices.) They do work better than our old devices which ran some version of Windows Mobile on them.
      • by Pascoea ( 968200 )
        My wife has similar experience. She hated the old windows based scanners. But from what I can tell the MC-40s are slow, all the managers fight over the TC-70s. And the MC-40s don't work inside the coolers. (Or something like that. Wasn't paying super close attention)
        • We have had wifi hotspots inside the cooler and freezer for years - even before we got the MC-40s. The old Telxon didn't work in the cooler or freezer before that (and I did). Each department supervisor is allocated a TC-70, ours shares it with us if she isn't using it (as the MC-40s tend to go quick; being 2nd shift I would never get one).
    • by nnull ( 1148259 )

      I use Android devices to do inventory control. Honeywell just released their Android based scanner (CK75). They work great. I don't see why they would have a problem in the business or enterprise world (Considering there's a lot of enterprise inventory control software for Android already). I've had Windows CE based scanners, that were always freaking terrible. They were never good to begin with. It was so bad, I didn't even bother wanting to write software for it, just made my own telnet interface for the

    • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

      Connection issues, scanner issues? Android devices also have those. Replaceable batteries? Perhaps the company they closed a deal with (Zebra) still has devices with replaceable batteries, but this is clearly going away on Android devices in general...

      It's in the summary, Zebra TC51 [zebra.com]It's a $1,500 purpose built device with a built in barcode reader and replaceable batteries. This isn't a toy, it's a purpose built device.

  • It seems there is. Who knew. A phone, but without the phone. What year is this?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Right, I forgot, Apple users are accustomed to tossing their devices after a year or two.
      • I had an iPod Touch for awhile. I did not need or want a cellphone. In this day and age, it would make more sense to buy an inexpensive no-contract Android phone at Walmart for $30-50 and just never activate it. The Touches have always featured significantly degraded components (displsy, camera, etc.) than their iPhone of the same generation , so it would be nuts to spend three figures on a Touch to hand to your kid in today.

  • ... and it will be a Black day [slashdot.org].

    "Target experienced a system-wide breach of credit card numbers over the Black Friday holiday shopping season..."

    • Might want to check the permissions on the Target Android App if you're worried about breaches. Requires just about every permission on the phone (I don't remember the entire list, it was long and I think it included contacts and camera - someone can correct me if I'm wrong).
  • by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @09:40PM (#55192897)
    When I'm looking for something at Target, I go to their web site, and I can find the isle location where I can find it. Once I showed what I had to a Target employee helping me. They were amazed at the detail I was able to access. Along with a few other larger retailers, they've built a good site.
  • by magusxxx ( 751600 ) <magusxxx_2000@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @11:20PM (#55193199)

    "...a former store manager wrote that "the iPod hardware they used as on the floor scanners for employees died quickly and there was no way of swapping in new batteries"

    And how many employees were reprimanded for not plugging them in to recharge? A similar situation happened at a store close to me. A friend said the morning/afternoon shifts would screw around and not recharge devices. Leaving the night crew having to wait their turn for the only remaining device working. Why was this happening?....

    1) No one plugged it in to recharge.
    2) The recharge cord wasn't plugged in because the employee removed it so they could recharge their own phone. (Hey, Pokemon Go takes up a lot of juice during an eight hour shift. And no, I'm not kidding. This was actually being done by the same employees who were also [see #1 & #3].
    3) When they were fully charged the powerstrip would be turned off. And then forgotten to be turned on again. In order to save energy. "Also turn the lights off when you leave the room." Even though people are in and out all day. And it take more power to turn it on/off 30x then it would use if you just left it on.

    Also you notice managers won't lose their iPhones.You know, the ones they probably use for Pokemon Go. ;)

  • Android is open source, so there is an endless choice of form factors, ruggedized devices, battery sizes, hardware like built in barcode/RFID scanners... Surprises it took that long. Target probably doesn't need Google apps on their devices, so they can strip down the OS for security/abuse protection and run on really inexpensive hardware without much RAM or flash.

  • Apple's closed ecosystem devices seem like a weird choice for this purpose. Apple are famously uncooperative about hardware and software functions they don't approve of and their support systems is highly oriented towards individual consumers.

    Am I missing something about their flexibility in industrial markets? This mostly seems like the device being chosen because someone in management thinks the user interface is easy and their staff might be familiar with it, not that it's an otherwise good technical c

  • by CHK6 ( 583097 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @08:11AM (#55194475)
    This isn't a iOS or Android issue at the dogma level, more of a supply chain for equipment at a price point that Target wants to hit.
  • That's what happens when you make infrastructure decisions based on shiny things and buzz, rather than evaluating actual needs.

    Why the hell would you use an Apple device (or more accurately, ANY device with a non-removable battery) for tasks that routinely require constant use throughout the day, every day.

    I can't speak to the rest of their problems, but if the rest of their system was as poorly thought out as the battery aspect, then I'm not surprised they're running into issues.

    This isn't an Apple problem

Good salesmen and good repairmen will never go hungry. -- R.E. Schenk

Working...