So we’re going to round-up this series of blogs on Rugged Android PDA’s and Rugged Tablets by talking about what manufacturers are adopting Android and what devices are currently available. It’s important to note that manufacturers need to sharing their Android strategy with us lot now so that a coherent plan is made that us Mission critical folk need. It’s no good to just bang out Android devices and hope the resellers pick them up but we’ll cover that here too.
Remember, this blog is not about the whole list of Rugged Android devices out there. Inf act the list is growing weekly now but I’m going to be honest with you, most of it is simply not going to be good enough for the discerning Rugged customer looking for a mission critical device to last them for years. everything we talk about here passes the 5 tests of ruggedness.
Top Android Manufacturers for Rugged
Pidion are the pioneers of Android in the rugged market, there’s no doubt about that in my view. They’ve not only been working on Android for well over a year but have shared what they’ve done, presented and included resellers in beta programs and have generally gone about Android in the right way. OK, so their BIP-6000 and BM170 devices have had the first unofficial Android OS on them and we’re still 2 weeks away from their retail releases but the fact is they have an open, inclusive Android strategy with a clear roadmap of devices that will see them selling Android on most of their new devices and some of their current ones too.
Mitac / Getac
Mitac and getac are blurring their Consumer/Rugged sides of their business with Mitac launching their Ulmo and Ares products with 5.9″ and 7″ LCD’s respectively. We’re getting demo versions later next week and will let user know exactly how good they are then but they both look promising on paper. The Ulmo especially is a rugged Tablet that looks to be set at a more reasonable price.
Getac on the other hand have Android on their PS236 PDA. The device is touted by Getac as the first Rugged Android device. Nice try guys but there were about 4 or 5 before you but if you need something to rival a Pidion BIP-6000 in ruggedness with Android then this might be for you. They have some new kit coming out very soon too that will tout Android.
Worth a mention
Despite their string Android Mobile business, which was sold off to Google recently Motorola only have 1 Android device, it’s the ET1 Tablet. It uses the PDA version of Android, using v2.3 and it’s only a LAN not a WAN, device (that’s no Phone or 3G to you and me!!). Selling at around the £700, they’re typically expensive but are fully rugged and come with a Motorola “Enterprise” skin to the OS which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However Motorola send back devices, even on full support contracts, with the most up to date OS, causing all kinds of issues for customers so how they’ll deal with this is on an Android device is questionable. Devices form Skye,
Skye have also been busy launching Android on 2 of their existing devices, the Dart and Allegro and we also have a lovely range of 4.3″ Androidn and WM6.5 devices from a new eWin. Their E40 series comes in 3G and 3G less configs, with or without 1D or 2D barcode scanning built in. All for under the £500 which will make these very nice devices to have.
lastly a mention needs to go to Panasonic. Their ToughPad series is almost here, with their B1 giving users a small, light but rugged Android 7″ tablet.
Now I know there’s more out there, but…. and this is a big but….., with choice exploding, the necessity will be in working with resellers that can not only help you through the long tail of Rugged kit now available but also one that works and collaborates with manufacturers to help make the kit stick around and be supported for 3-5 full years. This will be a huge challenge for anything Android in this marketplace as it develops and all I will say there is watch this space carefully!
The Rugged and Mobile blog.