Pidion BIP-6000 Battery Gets Bigger

31 10 2012
The new Pidion BIP-6000 Battery is bigger in capacity but physically the same size.

The new Pidion BIP-6000 Battery is bigger in capacity but physically the same size.

The Pidion BIP-6000 already has a great battery giving the rugged PDA a very decent battery longevity test score here at RAM as it is.  However mobile solutions are getting ever more power hungry, especially when RFID is used extensively so if you can squeeze more ooomph into the same space then its always a welcomed activity from end users!

The BIP-6000 now has a new 5200mAh high-capacity battery as an optional accessory which adds a fair 800mAh to the already large 44000mAh standard battery you get in the box.  The best thing about the new Pidon battery is that it all fits into the exact same battery shell casing so it doesn’t affect the form factor of the BIP-6000 at all.

We’ve been testing the battery for a couple of months now both here and with customers and the results are in, it’s officially giving a lot more juice and is worth the extra if battery life is a critical factor to you.

So far we haven’t had any notice of the new battery being an “in the box” item but we’re working on that!  For the time being you need to buy the battery separately and it’ll cost you about £10 more than the standard one at about £50.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Motorola ET1 goes WWAN (and about time too!)

29 10 2012
Introducing the Motorola ET1

The Motorola ET1 – Now with WAN!

What is the Motorola ET1?

The Motorola ET1 is like most Motorola products, in fact I’ll use phrase I use a lot with customers, “it’s hard to buy a bad Motorola” (ES400 aside…ahem…).  The ET1 is no exception to this, it’s quite tough but at the same time quite small but the main feature in my view is that it’s from a company with a Data Capture background, not a tablet that’s been made rugged form a company that doesn’t really do mission critical or rugged day-to-day.

This means the Motorola ET1 has large hot swappable batteries, a bright screen and plethora of accessories that are all essential in turning a mobile solution into an excellent one that’ll last for years.

However the ET1 has missed 1 fundamental feature to its spec until now.  Coming very soon you will get the option to fit a full 3G/4G Data enabled chip which will make the device fully field ready, putting it into the hands of a growing and hungry field based solutions out there.

OK, so like most Motorola products, the price isn’t going to be the best but the ET1 is always worth a look if you need something rugged and supported for years to come.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

What happened to Symbian?

26 10 2012
Symbian used to be the king, but just why did it fall from grace?

Symbian used to be the king, but just why did it fall from grace?

Ending this series of blogs looking at Mobile operating systems we’re going to take a look at Symbian.  Now we’ve never really seen Symbian in the

rugged PDA

 world but we’ve all probably used it at some time and that’s because its the OS that Nokia based it’s phones on until very recently so it’s worth a shout here.
Nokia actually sold off its Symbian OS division last year (I think it was last year at least!) and went with a Microsoft Windows Phone approach for its smartphones ending the reign of the most used mobile OS ever.  So rather than harp on about the pro’s and cons, in this article I’ll talk about what went wrong?

What did go wrong with Nokia and Symbian OS?

How do you get to pretty much 70%+ of the mobile phone market share and then drop to less than 10% of smart phone market share?  Well this is how, made from fact, opinion and a bit of rumour maybe!

Symbian was difficult to use

Any OS lives and dies on the developers and apps it has and I have personal experience of how difficult the Symbian OS was to use and create solutions for so god knows how hard it was for network operators to customise.  I could bring up so many examples of this that you’d need a shot in th arm to wake up but essentially Symbian was a pig to program so you ended up not using it like you should so anything built on top of it or underneath it was slow, clunky and often not robust.  Let me get this straight though, Symbian was a very good OS, in fact many of its clever features are now found in other smart phone SDK’s but it was just a pain to understand and use.

Add to this the community was small, the general help was poor and Nokia/Symbian themselves fell well short on documentation, examples and community when compared to the Androids, IOS’s and MSDN’s.

User interface was poor

So not only were the phones slow but the interfaces were also poor.  In the smart phone (not rugged PDA) world the interface and how easy a device is to use is critical and Nokia phones just fell way short of the experience you needed.

Symbian assumed that the device was used as a phone first

Whereas Apple and Android assume it’s a mobile computer.  This meant Symbian was great at making and taking calls (whoopee do!) but internet usage and emailing was poor and apps that used data were generally awful to use (where the supplier had actually managed to write one!!).

Nokia could not dictate to the networks how data was priced.

Again straight out of the handbook this one.  Because Nokia saw their devices as phones, they did not command enough control of how network usage would be priced.  I know people who work at network companies and I knew just how pleased they were when the iPhone came out with the all-inclusive iPhone bolt on.  Apple were doing what Nokia could have done 2-3 years before.

Nokia’s products range was awful

Sorry to be so strong but it was.  I remember the days of the 6100, early 1990’s where I could practically still tell you the Nokia range.  However come 2000+ Nokia seemed to bring out pointless phones that were phones or smartphones or something else that made no sense.  They should have stuck to fewer devices and made them wonderful.

So there’s a lesson in how one of the biggest OS players in the mobile market came to its demise.  We’ve seen failures since (HP, Palm, Motorola mobile) proving no-one’s too big too big to fail and we’ll see more.  The key is are the current big players doing enough to survive the next 3 or 4 years and beyond?

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Which Mobile Operating System is Best – Android

24 10 2012
Will Android be the King in the Rugged Market?

Will Android be the King in the Rugged Market?

The penultimate article in our best Mobile OS’s for rugged PDA’s Blog looking at the most recent mobile success story when it comes to mobile operating Systems….Android.  Android is owned by Google and was launched near the end of 2008.  SInce then it has become the most popular mobile OS in the world and has largely achieved this with an open source approach to the market.

Android Today

Android is getting better every time a version comes out and even die-hard Apple and Microsoft fans can’t deny that.  It’s useable but more importantly its open, flexible and you’re able to get complex solutions running on top of it.  With more and more Android Rugged PDA’s flooding into the rugged market every month, its clear that things are changing but is Android the great OS its cracked up to be when being used as the platform for a mission critical solution?

Pro’s of Android

  1. It’s a neat, mobile OS that’s great to use, easy to develop on and flexible.
  2. Hardware choice is growing in the rugged market.
  3. OS is flexible, you can do lots with it.
  4. Developer tools are easy to pick up and use pretty standard expertise.
  5. There are some things Android OS does better than anything else.  Wireless connectivity, auto screen stretching are just a few.
  6. Dedicated Tablet and PDA OS versions.
  7. Arguably the only end-to-end mobile OS out there now which will run the same OS across your whole multi-device Mobile platform.
  8. A lot of developers out there, lots of companies and apps are adopting Android and it is growing all the time.

Con’s of Android

  1. It’s not light.  In the rugged world the devices aren’t quite up to the specs of their Smartphone counter parts and we notice a definite difference in performance on the devices.
  2. It changes….A lot!  Android changes so frequently even the books are out of date before they’re launched!  Change is the biggest enemy of mission critical!
  3. Older OS’s get very little focus from the community so you depend on the hardware manufacturers.
  4. Where hardware manufacturers have adopted Android, the support is poor, the OS is either poorly supported or has become old and this represents a conundrum that will mean users probably suffer.
  5. Support is open source.  No-one really owns Android, it’s fundamentally not the same OS from device to device and getting the right help can be a pain.
  6. Open source can mean the OS is easier to hack and we are seeing more chatter on Android phones being hacked than anything else right now.
  7. It has vital features missing such as secure WiFi on PDA versions.
  8. The developer network is potentially too open.  There’s simply too much going on and everyone is focussed on the new and cool, not creating an OS and solutions that will last.  It is the opposite scenario to Windows Mobile in a funny way.

This great article demonstrates the issues with version support of Android.

This great article demonstrates the issues with version support of Android.

Our thoughts on Rugged Androids!

The main issue with Android being rugged is the amount of change and the lack of direct support.  However under the right circumstances it can thrive, even in a mission critical world.  If you have in-house expertise for example then it can be a route to controlling your mobile estate really well whilst offering an OS that you can tinker and play with creating wonderful stuff that keeps current with your business.  This is especially true of the Tablet market where Microsoft and even Apple are struggling to keep up.  If you have no expertise and think Android is a cheap way onto the solutions ladder then you need to be very careful indeed though, it’s simply not the same as buying a Microsoft based solution whether bespoke or off the shelf in some way.

The fact is though it’s here, it’s thriving and it will grow further.  How and where to in the rugged market?…. No one truly knows yet.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Which Mobile Operating System is Best – Apple IOS

22 10 2012
IOS - It's good but is it Rugged?

IOS – It’s good but is it Rugged?

So we continue our best Mobile OS’s for rugged solutions Blog with a look at one of the game changers of the past few years.  Apple revolutionised the music industry with their iPod and, more to the point, iTunes and then they came looking at the smartphone and tablet market.  At the time, they had unparalleled success with both their iPhone and iPad products, they were cool, they were desirable and they were pretty good but do people use them in business and are they mission critical?

IOS Today

Apple are very keen to point out that IOS is a “mobile” OS built for the job and that anything Microsoft and Nokia had at the time was just trying to get a desktop experience on the mobile handset, and you know what, they were right.  IOS came in various flavours, for Tablet, iPhone and iPod but essentially it was the same simple but effective OS to use and it hasn’t changed much to date.

IOS gives a great user experience, still the best in my view bit does it hold up in a business environment?

Pro’s of IOS

  1. Best interface out there…still, whether we’re talking iPhone or iPad!
  2. Beautifully crafted development environment – I still miss it after picking it up for a project a year ago.  It’s clean, has lovely purpose built functionality and it works well.
  3. Developer network is growing, it is big enough to get decent help now.
  4. The controls available to create apps are very nice indeed.
  5. Apple owns IOS and you join a manufacturer lead developer program just like Microsoft’s.

Con’s of IOS

  1. You need Apple computers and OSX to develop with so your users will have different PC’s, need training and the whole OS will be alien to your company.
  2. IOS developer tools are unique and ditto on the above.  XCode, objective C++ etc all need learning.
  3. Developers and expertise are less abundant.
  4. IOS is locked down.  You can’t do a lot with it, so if there’s something you want to do but can’t then you have to literally break the OS to make it work.  If the jailbroken of IOS is 3 times the size of the actual Apple store and developer network then tha proves the point.
  5. Difficult to get non-public apps onto the devices.
  6. IOS changes every year, it also leaves behind older versions of IOS every 18-24 months.  You’re forced to upgrade in a word.
  7. Locked in to the hardware.  You have no way of running your application on anything else if the hardware fails.
  8. Windows may get slated but IOS has bugs and hackers too.  Apple are extremely slow to respond to these when compared to Microsoft’s update process.

Our thoughts on IOS Rugged

Well to be honest IOS is great fun, it’s awesome getting apps running on an iPhone and it’s still the best Tablet platform as we speak now which might explain the eye opening table above.  But and this is a really big But.  It’s neither rugged or mission critical as an OS.  Most companies are looking to run they solution for 3-5 years and they need to know there will be hardware available for it years to come.  With IOS you have no choice and your OS may even become unsupported mid-way through your life-cycle so beware of this.  Also make sure you understand that ruggedness usually has to be inherently built-in to a device.  A case makes the iPhone durable but not rugged.

IOS isn’t Rugged unless you have a short solution time span, you’re buying an app and you are changing your hardware frequently to keep.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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