Bar code scanners are used everywhere, from retail stores to automotive assembly plants. They are just simply, as the words imply, bar code scanners. There are many other devices out in the market that have bar code scanning built in as a function of the device, but they are not solely bar code scanners. Bar code scanners need to transfer the data decoded into another device.
Generally speaking, this is done in one of 2 ways, through a tethered cable with USB connectivity or through Bluetooth technology.
Bar code scanning has been traditionally done through laser technology. Laser technology for bar code scanning is quick and simple. A rotating mirror inside the bar code scanner beams the laser light in many different directions, which allows for the bar code to be read from any number of different angles successfully, just like in the grocery store.
The advent of 2-D bar code symbologies has required the technology to change. 2-D bar codes cannot be read with laser scanners. Imaging technology is now used to take a quick picture of the bar code and decode the symbology accordingly. These new devices that take a picture of the bar code are now called imagers. Imagers can read a bar code as quickly as a laser bar code scanner. Imagers can read 1-D and 2-D bar codes. Imaging technology is built into all modern cell phones that have a camera. A cell phone with the right app can now read all bar codes as well.