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Alien Offers Sled Reader With Multi-Antenna Polarization Options, 24-Hour Battery Life

The ALR-S350 is designed to enable companies to employ their own iOS or Android devices with a Bluetooth connection to manage read data, using the polarization of their choice.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 10, 2018

California RFID company Alien Technology has released a sled-based ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader that, according to the company, will enable retailers and other RFID technology users to employ their own Android- or iOS-based devices to capture and manage RFID read data. The ALR-S350 is designed to read tags while letting a user's Android or iOS device take it from there. The UHF reader can be attached to a smartphone, tablet or other media device, to which it then forwards data via a Bluetooth connection.

This is not the first sled reader on the market, but Alien claims its model is unique in several ways. It features a 24-hour average life on a single battery, says Neil Mitchell, Alien's senior director of marketing, and offers a choice of linear, circular or close-range read options. What's more, he adds, the device comes with all necessary accessories and an app, at a cost of $1,599.

The ALR-S350 reader
The reader is intended for use in retail, warehousing, work-in-progress (WIP) tracking, transportation and the locating of missing items. Alien will demonstrate the device at the National Retail Federation's NRF 2018 retail trade show, which will be held at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Jan. 14–16. The company will provide samples to customers and expects to be selling the product in volume by this coming spring.

Sled readers offer an alternative to handheld readers for RFID technology users. Basic handhelds use their own operating systems and cannot be integrated with mobile-based operating systems such as Android and iOS. With the sled version, however, users can employ their existing tablets, mobile phones or Apple iPods to capture and manage tag-read data.

The ALR-S350 reader can be attached to a phone or other device via a Quad Lock mounting attachment, and shares data with that device via a Bluetooth connection. To manage read data, users can download Alien's RFID app for Android or iOS, or use the firm's software developer's kit (SDK) to integrate data into their own app or software-management system.

Alien Technology has devoted its engineering efforts to making the ALR-S350 a flexible and effective tool for customers, Mitchell says, with a focus on extending battery life and building in versatility. The device has a battery life of up to 24 hours when used intensively, he adds, and can be recharged via a USB cable.

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