I’m seeing a trend with Rugged PDA’s as the long tail of marketing starts to show in the sometimes sleepy world of Rugged PDA’s.
In the past we used to have a clear cut market. We had consumer devices, well served by HTC and a few other manufacturers and we had the Rugged market that gave business something tough to run their business on.
But there always was and still is a larger number of businesses embarking on their first mobile project and as such it is still very hard to convince them that they need to spend more in order to protect their business investment. They invarably end up buying a nice cheap HTC device for £300 which breaks 4 or 5 times in 12 months with very little in the way of support.
However the days of weighing up a £300 against an £800 device are gone and the new wave of device we’re now seeing like the GX8010 or gSmart from GaneData are leading the way in not having to compromise in my view. These start at £500 but they’re IP65 rated with a proper drop spec. Granted they have to cut some of the latest tech out of them (Even if they have OEM motorola or Honeywell scanner tech) but essentially your business can now choose a rugged pda that’s supported, road mapped and at the same time great value. They’re the same small size, they have great battery life and they offer the latest Windows Mobile OS’s.
The Motorola MC35 made an attempt at filling this gap but it’s failing was that it was not actually rugged and it came with a lot of problems indicative of the consumer PDA it actually was under the skin. Companies like Pidion with the BM-150R, GaneData’s GX8010 and GSmart are really leading the way down the long tail of the Rugged PDA market in my view.
It’ll be interesting to see how well they do in the next 12 months as customer demand for more tightly specified Rugged PDA’s becomes more prelavent.