I'm building a system for a small manufacturing business that requires a mobile barcode scanner (at minimum) and would be great if it could be an RFID reader too. I would really like this to be a powerful device that runs Android and could have custom applications written in Java on it. However, I'm a software guy and I'm not sure where to start on the hardware side.

Is there a good hardware option for this?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Have a look in TouchATag. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you're overcomplicating this. Running Android on it is a bit much, and will require a decent processor. You could do this with just a small microcontroller. Sure, it wouldn't have as much power, but it will be much simpler to implement. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas O
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm needing to do a lot more than just barcode/rfid scanning... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Like what? If you want to run Java on it, then that's possible, but why? Applications can be written in C if you want. It's a big project for "a software guy" to take on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas O
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:13
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I am sure Max has good reasons for wanting to make the RFID reader that high end. I will admit, it is good to point out that it may be over complicated, but if they seem sure then we just need to answer. when we show someone how, they may change their mind at this point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:15

2 Answers 2


You can run Android on the BeagleBoard:

Is there any kit for android development?

You could plug a ready made USB RFID reader into that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 I'd edit my answer to suggest this too. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:43

Which RFID standard are the tags you want to read? Cell phones with NFC capability (Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, HTC EVO 4G LTE, and others) will read most of the common 13.56 MHz formats. Depending on the bar codes you want to read, you might be able to use an existing library, like zxing to process the bar codes for you.

The maximum read range on the NFC technology is about 4 cm. If you want to find a bin with a particular RFID tag in a shelf, you need a different technology (look at EPC Gen 2). If the user can touch or almost touch the RFID tag in your RFID use cases, then NFC should work pretty well for you, and you can use off the shelf hardware.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.