Good morning from a gloriously and rather unusual sunny Liverpool! 7AM and 18 degrees Celsius, you can’t ask for more!!!
Never before have we seen such diversity in real industry strength operating systems and whilst choice is normally a good thing, too much of a good thing can often be confusing and paralysing when it comes to actually making that choice. Mobile operating systems used to be easy. Windows mobile was the go to OS, some liked CE but even that dried up so everyone knew where they stood. These days there are a plethora of OS’s and this week I wanted to make sure you understand exactly where you stand with them, starting today with an overview of all the mobile OS’s with their pros and cons.
Windows mobile is still the live operating system from Microsoft and these days it has been rebadged “Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.” It’s still largely the same OS from when WM 6.5 was launched way back in 2009 but to be honest it was never meant to be anything more than a stop-gap OS so its not much different to WM 6.1 which celebrates it’s 6 year anniversary this year.
Windows Embedded 8 has been talked about more recently due to some handsets finally sporting and testing it but licenses are extremely restricted for the OS and as I sit here today, I know of no WE8 handsets that are freely available for purchase just yet. WE8 is the next OS in the Windows Mobile/WEH range and will the OS that sits on data capture equipment.
Microsoft have another OS called “Windows Phone 8” but this is for consumer smartphones only, we don’t really do much with it here. WIndows 8 and Windows RT are seen on tablets.
Android is the OS of the moment. It’s taking up market share in all of the consumer, business and enterprise markets. We’re selling as many Android rugged devices as we are Windows Mobile ones these days and it is here to stay. You can tell from the version adoption figures on Google’s own site that the OS is no longer only used by those chasing the latest version, but by businesses who want the most stable releases a few points back and Android is now officially eroding market share in established Apple iPhone countries like the UK, Europe and even USA.
Android is so easy to develop, tweak and install that pretty much every new rugged device we’ve seen this year has been Android based or at least has, had an Android OS option.
Just 1 OS version sits on any mobile smart phone, Rugged PDA or tablet making it simple to get familiar with.
IOS is still a strong contender in the mobile market and depending on your country makes up for 15-50% of mobile devices. Apple kit is a closed OS system so you can only use it on Apples hardware. This brings IOS the hard-fought reputation that it just works, however you are at the behest of Apple and when they decide to stop developing for or supporting a version of IOS you are using. Apple are the king of “Early redundancy of hardware” so versions tend to go out of support a lot earlier than people think making IOS not the best choice when it comes to enterprise solutions with 3-5 year ROI.
Once the darling of the business world, BB has slipped to almost nothing in the past few years. Dependant on a shaky OS platform that couldn’t support the demanded features that the latest OS’s could bring, they decided to switch to an Android platform with their latest handset releases in the hope could plug the gap but haven’t really done so. Even Blackberry Messenger has been released for Android and IOS, now meaning there’s no real USPs in having a Blackberry solution any longer, and you might as well not lock yourself in.
There are other platforms but they make up so little of the market I’m not going to go in to them here. next we’ll talk about the pro’s and cons of each OS in the Rugged/Enterprise world.