We’re nearly there!

18 08 2014
The Rugged and Mobile blog has nearly moved!

The Rugged and Mobile blog has nearly moved!

Who’d have though moving a blog would take so long!!  Well we’re almost there, just re-categorising the content, sorting out the tags and we’ll be flicking over to the new platform!

Will be back very soon!



We’re Moving!

11 08 2014
Rugged and mobile is moving!

Rugged and mobile is moving!

We’re finally moving our blog!

We’ve been so busy blogging that no-one stopped to think just how old and creaky the blog had become so we’re moving home, knocking a few walls down, remodelling and doing some major decorating!!

The blog has grown so big these days and has so much media in it, we decided to take a break from posting to make the move as smooth as possible.

Please bear with us, we’re hoping it’ll take no more than a couple of weeks and in the meantime just get in touch with us if you need any help!

I always like to say thank-you, so let me also just say that once again to everyone who has made the blog what it is.

We’ll be back soon with a new, improved platform and some really nice surprises.

Dave and the team.

Motorola ES400 alternatives

4 08 2014
There's more to life than Motorola! Here's a bunch of Motorola ES400 Alternatives

There’s more to life than Motorola! Here’s a bunch of Motorola ES400 Alternatives

So with the ES400 discontinued now and with numbers drying up before the official beginning of September last ship date, I thought I’d give people our opinion on some of the best alternatives out there.

Despite not being the best performer, the ES400 did have some unique features and there’s nothing really out there with the same size 3.0″ screen, qwerty keypad and small size.  Below are the nearest devices with the differences they have.  Firstly lets explore the MC45 which is the official replacement device offered by Motorola themselves.  however this is really not a great option in our view.  First of all its about 35% more expensive, it doesn’t have a qwerty keypad and the odd sized 3.2″ screen means it’s neither small or larger.  The biggest issue we have is that the scanner is built in and the spec is poorer to the ES400.  It shares the same battery but after 2 years of use you’ll be needing more of those anyway.  In our opinion the MC45 doesn’t make a great alternative option but if you want to stay Motorola, this is your choice.

So what else is out there?  Well here’s out pick of the alternatives.

Dotel H300S

This device is fully rugged, it has a 3.5″ screen but it’s surprisingly slim and light making it easy to hold and use all day.  It comes with 2 2400mAh Li-Pol batteries, upgradeable to 3600mAh ones, that are hot swappable in the field without a reboot and has a qwerty or numeric keypad option.  You get lots of accessories and a fully rugged device for just a £100 more.

Gen2Wave RP1200

This is one small but tough little rugged device that has a big 4000mah battery, 3.5″ screen but packs it into the smallest case we can find.  The only difference is the numeric only keypad option but other than that you get the exact same spec, lots of accessories in the box and a fully enterprise, supported device built for business for only £100 more. Oh and you can upgrade it to Android when you feel like it later on to!

We’re probably putting more people onto these 2 devices that have learnt their lesson using semi-rugged than anything else.

Pidion HM40

Not the most popular device on the market but in a way it’s also one of the best kept secrets.  The HM40 is nearest in size device to the ES400 with a 2.8″ screen, it also has a qwerty keypad and extended 3060mAh battery, almost identical to the 3080mAh one of the ES400.  The’s a barcode scanner built in that you can’t get rid of but the price is only a smudging over the ES400 so ignore until you need it!

Going Android

Well we figure if you were using ES400’s in the first place then you would be looking for the best value Android kit.  Motorola themselves offer up the TC55 as their alternative but we think there’s better!  The Raptor R4 or R4S give an entry level device that’s supported well here in the UK and have better specs than most of their rugged Android smartphone competition.  If you’ve decided to go Android but price and great support matter then these could be a great alternative s at only £350.



Why mobile operating systems don’t matter anymore

30 07 2014

It seems odd to do a whole series on mobile operating systems then follow end it with this oddly named blog but I wanted to underline the whole thing by just showing where OS is going and 2014 and beyond.

At the end of the day I’ve switched mobile device about twice every year and have various ones for various scenarios of my life.  OK, so I’m in the business and i’m also a bit of a gadget freak but at the end of the day I wouldn’t do it unless it was easy.  What I’m trying to say is that mobile OS’s have evolved these days to being so similar in many respects that switching from one to the other is now simple. I have a Samsung note 3, sporting Android v4.4 as my every day phone right now but at the weekends I revert to my smaller, more DIY and going out friendly iphone 4S.  All my emails are on both devices, all my data is stored on Drop box anyway including all my photos and my appointments and contacts are all kept safe and sound via a google account that syncs to all my devices, whatever they are.

However when we come to the Enterprise world, typically people are using devices for 1 or 2 specific purposes, the devices are often locked down to that and as such the users probably don’t know what OS they have on them anyway. Add to this many businesses don’t have, can’t get or are removing their own OS expertise as it becomes too difficult and indeed expensive to keep up so OS choice is ironically becoming less of an issue in the Enterprise world or at least should do as the whole provision of a mobile solution is outsourced to the right technology partners.

So that brings me to what’s going on in the future then? Well 4G is a driving force as it is the technology that might finally make our mobile devices 100% connected.  Once this happens why would we use an app over a good old optimised website?  That means we can all use familiar web and database technologies to build anything we want on mobile and not worry about the OS that is using them.  Sure we’ll have browser issues like we do now, but these represent a far easier issue than having the wrong OS or app.

We’re already seeing this shift with things like Firefox OS which runs it’s whole operating system within the Firefox browser and as hybrid frameworks get better and better at providing developers the lower hardware levels needed to unlock all the features of a device I think we’ll see a fundamental shift in features and solutions and the benefits they bring rather than a focus on the technology they run on.

So I would ask are businesses going to even care about OS in the future or a solution that just works for them?



Choosing a mobile OS for Enterprise – Top 10 check list questions

28 07 2014
Every mobile OS brings certain benefits and issues with it.

Every mobile OS brings certain benefits and issues with it.

We had some great questions last week about mobile OS so I decided to write a few more blogs about some of them.  Today we have a top 10 check list to help you choose the right mobile OS for your enterprise.

1. Need an app?

Have you already got an app or solution that works on a particular OS.  If so then you might be tied to the OS already.

2. Expertise available

What expertise have you got at your disposal?  Do you have .NET developers already?  Will IOS or Android resource be easy to find and available within your budget?

3. Integration

Perhaps one of Microsoft’s few remaining big USP’s is to make sure your mobile devices can integrate and communicate effectively, securely and easily with your back end servers.

4. Familiarity

How familiar does the device need to be?  Having a bunch of Android loving Engineers might mean adopting the same OS for their mobile work tool is the clever option, saving on training and even end user satisfaction.

5. Choice of devices

Android, IOS and Windows Mobile will all have restrictions on the type of device you can use.  IOS only runs on non-rugged Apple kit, Android is here but tends to run on more smartphone form factor rugged devices and Windows mobile still has the greatest choice, but for how long?

6. Upgrade paths

Do you understand the upgrade paths of each OS, how long will it be current and how easy will it be to update and stay supported?

7. Features

What kind of features do you need for your mobile application.  If RFID is core then IOS is out.  If you need a feature packed OS with the latest abilities then Windows Mobile is perhaps not the way to go.

8. What will the device be used for?

Make sure you know what the device is going to be used for.  If it’s going to be kept open so users can use the phone, texts email etc then things like familiarity might become more important. If it’s doing 1 task and locked to that task then developing an app quickly with resources you already have might be the most important factor to consider.

9. Data capture features

Which OS is best for building in barcode scanning or RFID features into my application.  Android takes a very different “intent” based approach to the older SDK way Windows Mobile handles these kinds of features.  IOS is reliant on the supplying hardware.

10. Supporting applications

Whilst enterprise solutions tend to not use the “App store” of an OS, it still might be important to know just how easily you can get certain process driving apps on top your devices.  It’s also important to understand if the essential apps you need to use for Mobile device management or Kiosking are available for the chosen OS.



RAM Q&A of the week – Mobile OS

25 07 2014


Our Q&A summary of the week, covers everything Raptor this week!.  Keep the questions rolling in @ruggedandmobile or using #RAMQQ or using Facebook.

1. Great series of blogs by the way, I’m no longer confused but I’m still worried about making a 5 year commitment. Can you help?

A big question! I can’t answer that one directly as it depends on your business and strategy and even then I think you need a crystal ball to get it right 100%!

If you need rugged devices then it’s WM, WE8 or Android. Also the fact that your talking 5 years would make me worry a lot about IOS.

If you need to deploy right now then it’s WM6.5 thats going to be end of lifed soon or Android.

Look for a device that will be around for that long and also focus on what the OS on that device can give you today and in the future.  Many rugged devices won’t get Android updates, or at least maybe only a couple of big ones.

Work with someone who knows the OIS and can truly help you out over the 5 years.

2. Do rugged devices get all Androids updates?

No, in fact consumer devices don’t either but that’s because they want you to buy the newer models.  IN the rugged world it’s about what the suppliers can support, remember they are writing SDK’s for scanners and all kinds of apps that they want to work for years.

I think most of the good devices we have sold have had the odd little tweak and update.  Some have updated the whole device and some haven’t updated at all.  You need to know what you want and then go with that .

3. We use Apple iPhones and they’re superb, why do you seem to bash them a bit on here?

Because in the enterprise market they aren’t the best tool.  We love Apple kit here for our own consumer usage.  It’s also a great business level tool, bringing a secure, feature packed tool to your business workers.  However in the Data capture, rugged, enterprise level where the device is part of a direct business process, Apple kit is weak.  It has a poor roadmap, it’s locked in a little too much for our liking and it’s not supported for long enough.  It’s also not rugged, at all and a case won’t make much difference!

4. Will Windows Embedded 8 look like Windows Phone and have capacitive screens?

Yes and yes!  The OS looks much like the Windows Phone one and the screens will be big and capacitive.

5. Can you develop for WE8 on a Windows 7 development machine?

No, you need Windows 8 Pro.  Half of us use W8 here and we have a 100% dissatisfaction rate with it.  It has tonnes of connection issues when we test PDA’s and the OS itself is horrible.

Keep sending those questions in, use #RAMQQ on twitter @ruggedandmobile or just email them in.


The mobile OS for Enterprise conundrum!

23 07 2014
What OS strategy do you choose for your business today?

What OS strategy do you choose for your business today?

So with so many mobile OS choices, how do you choose the best one for your business solution?  I personally think that it’s all now boiling down to how easy it is to develop applications for an OS and I believe the battle in our “enterprise” market will not be won by just the OS and companies that can make it easy to develop, deploy and support their OS, but also to the ones who make it easy to innovate, adopt and own the OS as part of a unique solution offered by resellers and software houses alike.

Here at RAM we’re of course tweaking OS’s and helping customers with them all the time but we’ve found that less and less time is spent on the same set up tasks on Android than with Windows Mobile but instead we’re getting questions that are delving far more deeply into the features of the OS.  For example we get a lot of questions about how to get devices talking to each other, how to get “things” talking to each other and USB and Bluetooth communication.  Indeed it seems people are doing a lot more with their OS’s than ever before as businesses need to innovate more than ever to simply survive.

It seems the Windows mobile adopters aren’t the ones at the forefront of innovation any longer, pushing the OS envelope out.

Will this be Apples Achilles heel?  Maybe, it’s still highly targeted by many software houses, has a decent accessory platform and is well catered for through hybrid development frameworks and the recent launch of SWIFT means IOS has just been made easier to develop for, but is Apple able to open up enough and support those developing for their platform better?

Google on the other hand are actually having to address too many flavours of Android on the market being a victim of their own success if you like.  Openness isn’t a problem here and Android is as popular now with hybrid development frameworks but developers haven’t quite adopted it like the IOS tribe just yet.

Microsoft is a mess.  There… I said it!  They had the enterprise market cornered but have just given it to Android on a silver plate. There’s lots of rhetoric, loads of people stating they know what’s going on but won’t put pen to paper themselves, but I sit and talk with lots of Rugged suppliers every week and none of them know for sure.  I can talk to Apple, I talk to Android people but we’re a  Microsoft house here and I can’t remember the last time they talked to us.  Windows Embedded 8 forces developers to use Windows 8, new expensive tools have to be bought and from personal experience it’s easier to convert existing apps to Android in my view.  I think Microsoft have their work cut out re-gaining the trust of their loyal tribe before they can go take more market share.  However they’re still Microsoft, they still own half the server market, they still have a string desktop presence, despite the radical pressure from mobile devices and many businesses will welcome a fresh Microsoft tool set which will have a lot of help and support built-in.

Blackberry is easy.  They’re gone, we’re all just waiting for them to leave the party, it’s starting to get awkward now!

So if you’re currently looking for the right mobile OS it’s not easy, you need to think and the next blog will try to address that…


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