Motorola Solutions debuts enterprise-ready Android handset

Enterprise equipment provider Motorola Solutions has launched a business-friendly Android handset, which it claims is more secure and provides better TCO than its commercial rivals.

The TC55 is built for deployment in vertical markets and includes MIL-STD 810G/IP67 ratings, a removable battery, and a secured edition of Android.

Motorola Solutions has outlined an array of use cases for the device including sales/order tracking, inventory management, payment processing, as well as invoicing and signature capture.

Despite the 15.9mm dimensions making the TC55 chunkier than most other consumer devices, it contains similar specifications to high-end smartphones on the market.

The handset packs a 4.3in LCD display made from Gorilla Glass 2. Motorola has used transflective technology and has a brightness of 700Nits, which the firm claims makes it better suited to outdoor use than commercial handsets. By comparison a device such as the iPhone 5 has a brightness of 500 Nits.

Person using Motorola phone

The TC55 can also be used with any type of glove (leather, latex and garden) or stylus, making it deployable in a variety of unique environments from construction sites to hospitals, explained Andy McBain, senior product manager, during the device's launch event in central London today.

Other core features include the programmable buttons on the side allowing one-click push to communicate in mission critical environments. An 8-megapixel camera on the rear is also optimised for barcode scanning, making this particularly attractive for retail and courier deployments. NFC functionality is also built in and Motorola claims the removable battery is capable of lasting a 14 hour shift.

However, 4G functionality is only available in the North American handsets and European users will have to make do with HSPA+ technology.


The TC55 is MIL-STD 810G certified, allowing the device to survive a 4ft drop onto plywood. With the protective cover, Motorola claims the smartphone is able to survive a 4ft drop onto concrete.

McBain claimed, although many consumer devices are increasingly claiming to be ruggedised, they are not suited to enterprise environments.

"We've been doing some testing with a couple of other products to find that they don't actually meet what they say. Therefore, [businesses] buy extra cases in bulk.

"Even our former brethren in mobility [Motorola Mobility] launched the Defy and said it was lifeproof'. But customers [took] our Defy's and dropped them in glasses of water for us to find they didn't always work."

Fortified Android

Motorola claims to have secured Android Jelly Bean using Motorola Mx (Extensions). This is a layer that sits on top of the operating system plugging any vulnerabilities. McBain explained it does not affect the functionality of Android, is free and comes pre-loaded on the devices.

"There are certain fundamental gaps within [Android]. What Motorola has done is develop Mx extensions to plug those holes and make Android enterprise ready.

"We use the license-free approach. The Mx Extensions is wrapped into the bundle, it's license free and ships on all our devices. It's also not a proprietary version it's an extension that sits on top. So if I want to write an app or run something like Angry Birds on a device, I can do that."

There are currently five Mx Extensions covering mobile device management, application management, security, data capture and wireless connectivity. There are 45 features within these.

Motorola plans to roll out devices starting in October with a starting price at $1049.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.