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Enabling Mobile Invoice and Receipt printing with Zebra Mobile Printer and Native Android 3.0 Tablet application

September 17th, 2011

 

We love Zebra mobile thermal receipt printers. They are rugged, small and their battery life is awesome. They come with variety of connectivity options. One of our favorite one being the Bluetooth.We recently developed an awesome looking  cost effective android tablet application for route delivery for one of our customers. The driver has to print an invoice after delivering the goods to the stores that are assigned to his route. This is where we integrated printing using Zebra SDK with the  native Android Tablet application we have developed. One of the downfalls of Zebra is their documentation is not too user friendly and you really need to dig on their site.So in this post, we will see how we can configure the zebra hw 420 printer to use bluetooth and also to set a pin number that the Android Tablet asks for when you are pairing the printer.

Step 1: Connect the printer to you PC using the micro USB cable and turn the printer on. We are using awesome Windows 7. You should see a pop that the a new device is detected and also searching for its drivers. Then after a seconds you should see  “Installing device driver software” as shown below

 

And after a couple seconds you should see a popup that the driver is installed and the device is ready to use

Step 2: Now that printer is installed. We need a utility to configure the printer. You can download the setup utilities from zebra by following this link. You might have to register to the site to download the utility. After it is downloaded, double click on the exe and install the software by following the wizard instructions. If it asks for extra installer options, select “No”

 

Step 3: Disconnect the Printer cable from the PC for a second.

Step 4: Launch the newly installed Zebra Setup utilities.

Step 5: Now connect the printer cable back

You should see a screen like below where the utility will ask for the port the printer is connected to. Click on NextStep 6: After you are done with the above wizard, you will see a screen as shown below. Notice that your zebra mobile printer is identified and listed as shown below

Step 7: Select the printer and then click on the “Configure Printer Connectivity” button and then you should screen as shown below

Step 8: Select the Bluetooth option and click Next and you will be navigated to screen as shown below

We are almost there, I promise. Now enter the friendly name. Turn the authentication on and enter the authentication pin. Some of the android tablets we have tested to pair this printer is asking for pin number and hence we need to configure the bluetooth printer with an authentication pin. Click Next.

Step 9:  Select the Printer option and click Finish. This will set the Friendly Username and Bluetooth Pin for the printer

If you observe the Printer, it should restart itself.  Now on your android tablet make sure that the Bluetooth is turned on. If you are new to the Android 3.0 interface, you can click on Settings-> Wireless & Networks  and in the right page you will see Bluetooth. Make sure that the check box for Bluetooth is selected. Also make sure that your Zebra mobile printer is on. Now click on Find nearby devices.  You should see your device with the friendly name you have given above in step 8. Tap on the device and it now should ask for the pin number that you set in step 8.

After you enter the pin, its should show your printer under Paired Devices.

Step 10: If you haven’t already donwloaded the zebra android app, you can download it from here for free and play with the app to test your printer and print some default labels that zebra has provided.

We have successfully integrated the Mobile Printing into the Route Delivery Application we have developed using the Zebra Android SDK using the CPCL language. So the end user can select the printer from our app and started printing invoices right from the tablet from the app we developed without any hassles. Now that is cool.

 

If you need help with integrating zebra mobile printers with your iPhone/iPad and Android Application or if you need help with developing an enterprise application for your enterprise to increase efficiency and productivity of your staff, please feel free to contact us. We can help you in deciding which platforms to use, understand your business requirements and design the app to fit your unique business processes and train your field agents and staff to use the app. Now more than ever it is  more affordable and cost efficient to develop these custom enterprise iphone/iPad and android 3.0 tablet applications to mobilize your business and get better ROI. It increases your staff efficiency, reduces double entry and thus prevents manual human errors and increases the speed at which you can do your business which results in higher customer satisfaction and lower your costs.