There has been a lot of change, development and sheer rumour when it has come to Rugged PDA Operating Systems the past year and this blog aims to help users through where they stand on the subject! I thought I’d do this one by way of popular questions we get asked about Mobile operating systems from technical ones to can I have Windows Mobile 7.0 Rugged PDA, which is probably a good one to start on!
Windows Mobile 7.0 doesn’t exist!
There I said it, it’s time to get used to the idea that Windows Mobile 7.0 has never, will never and does not exist in any shape or form! In fact this is a slight fib because WM7 was penned in on the roadmap as the natural successor to WM6.5 however it was pulled very quickly and quietly when obvious decisions were made about the changing strategy Microsoft were about to take with their OS division.
What is Microsoft’s strategy on their mobile OS’s they seem to have 3 OS’s now?
That’s right. Microsoft were losing the smart phone war against rivals like IOS (iPhone) and Blackberry and Android. However the Smart phone market is very different from the Rugged Market and the OS needs to be very different to serve them effectively. This is why Windows Phone 7 was released. It is designed to be a highly up to date, feature and function packed OS giving users a great OS experience. It changes quickly, wildly and is a nightmare to keep apps up to date on. Add to this smart phone hardware also changes like the wind too which means this is a fast paced market.
The Rugged market remains with the same Windows CE and Windows Mobile OS’s but they have been renamed and strategically re-positioned to give people wanting a proper line of business OS that does not like change at all! The new OS’s are currently called Windows Embedded 7.0 and Windows Embedded handheld 6.5 which is the one we’ll see in rugged PDA’s.
What OS Options are there and which are most popular?
Microsoft still dominates our market and up until about October last year there was only Microsoft with the odd Palm based Janam Device. However this is changing wildly now as Pidion launched the first Android Rugged PDA last year with their BIP-6000, their semi rugged BM170 also due to be launched very soon and we have heard news of Skeye launching their Dart with Android on it too.
Android is here and it is growing. You have to be very careful of it right now but we are seeing customers with solid in-house LINUX expertise lapping it up.
What is the latest Mobile OS from Microsoft that runs on Rugged PDA’s?
The latest OS’s are Windows Embedded 7.0 which is the old “CE” renamed, however Microsoft wants PDA’s to stay away from this so we still Windows CE 6.0 devices being launched today. Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is the latest OS that takes the reigns of the Windows Mobile thread of OS’s. Many devices are actually running WEH 6.5 and not WM.65 they just don;t tell you due to the confusion and the fact you simply can;t tell as they are pretty much the same OS>
Why doesn’t Windows Phone 7 run on PDA’s?
Because it changes too much and too often. It is designed for Smart phones where the OS has to keep up with all the latest trends and demands and changing hardware too.
Can I get a smart phone with Windows Mobile 6.5 on it?
Officially not any more, with the last of the HTC models now having gone end of line over 6 months ago. There have been a lot of resellers cashing in on selling the stocks they have left and everything on Ebay is actually a fake by the way or 2nd hand but even these channels have seemed to have dried up now.
Are there any small Rugged PDA’s that run Windows Mobile 6.5
Yes, you need a “Semi rugged PDA” there are currently 2 to choose from the Pidion BM170 for those of you that want the PDA/Smart phone form factor with large screen and minimal keyboard or Motorola’s ES400 for the small screen, qwerty form factor. Both are excellent devices, the BM170 is a far better supported and quality device in our opinions, we just have to look at the number of returns and warranty claims we have made to prove that!
The Rugged and Mobile blog.