The landscape for rugged enterprise mobile devices – such as scanners used in most warehouses and Distribution Centres around the globe – is changing quickly. Most would be aware that the dominant player for decades in this area has been Microsoft with their CE and Windows Mobile Operating Systems. On January 14, 2020, support will end for Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. From that point on, all mobile devices running these versions of Windows will also no longer receive any hotfixes and device/security updates.
The devices will keep operating post 2020, however they will not be supported via operating system updates and security patches past this date.
As Microsoft moves into end-of-life phase for the operating system, the opportunity arises to move to the smarter, more flexible, and more secure Google Android.
The Android operating system offers sophisticated and functional modern mobile solutions and intuitive interfaces.
While the first generation of Android devices were sometimes less than perfect (Okay – most times) manufacturers are now on their second generation releases that provide reliability, performance, support and features never before seen in this area.
While it has never been a better time to update your mobility fleet to the latest Android devices there are some differences that you should be aware of when transitioning to Android.
1/ Android updates come thick and fast. You will need a way to control and manage these updates quickly and easily – particularly important if you run your devices across multiple sites. A Mobile Device Management tool like Gamma Solution’s SentriBlue MDM (Free of charge if the device is covered under a Gamma Solutions Support Agreement) is a great place to start.
2/ Google’s support for Android typically lasts 3 years – acceptable for a consumer phone or tablet but that isn’t going to cut it for a rugged enterprise device designed to last 5 years. Make sure the device manufacturer offers extended OS support for at least an additional 2 years. Some do but many don’t.
3/ Check with your software vendor that their application is Android compatible. If the interface is browser or Telnet you should have no issues. If your interface is a Windows Mobile or CE application, check with your software vendor for an Android client or ask about their migration plan.
The move to Android has been the catalyst for some long overdue hardware updates in the rugged enterprise space with larger brighter screens, capacitive touch screens and a familiar user interface. If you prepare well and understand the differences between the old and the new the move can be a pleasant one with many business benefits realised.