So With Microsofots successor to Windows Mobile now piloting in the states I thought it would be a good time to answer all the questions we have had about WE8H, here’s most of them. We’ve done our best on this so we hope this stimulates conversation and more questions. That way we all keep learning, so just ask in the comments below or tweet us at @ruggedandmobile if you want to connect.
How do I develop WE8H applications?
You basically use the Windows Phone 8 development tools and SDKs to get set up and then you install the WE8H SDK to use the specific features of this OS. You need the latest versions of Visual Studio from 2012 onwards. VS 2008 is no good any more. Now the catch is that you can install VS 2012 on a W7 machine, but to install the WP8 components you need to have a W8 machine. Good luck with that!!
When is WE8H released officially?
Still not sure, nothing has been set in stone yet and there are no devices at all. We constantly pester distributors and manufacturers and none of them can answer that question. Form experience I would say that 2014 is possible but i’m not sure if it’s probable.
What Mobile devices are available to test on?
In short none yet, but there are a few announced ones. Motorola have a device that was piloting on the Home Depot pilot in the USA and their CEO also mentioned a tablet in a recent interview. Pidion have announced 2 new devices the BM180 and the BP30 which are a POS and PDA style terminal running both Android 4,2 and WE8H. We sell more Pidion than anyone in the UK and we’ve not seen one yet! Panasonic are rumoured to be developing a tablet and Honeywell and Ingenico (Who bought Baracoda recently) are both partners in the pilot schemes.
Will we see WE8H on Nokia or consumer devices?
No, WE8H is intended only for pure business devices where data capture and POS is at the core of the solution. COnsumer devices will continue to run Windows 8 Phone edition or WIndows 8 RT/Pro on tablets.
Do my old Windows Mobile based apps port easily?
We work with IOS, Android, WM and WP8 and we’ve also tinkered with WE8H here so we can answer this categorically. Nothing will port at all from the older Windows Mobile or Windows Embedded Handheld OS. We have found porting to Android far easier which sounds bazaar but at least we can make those apps more hybrid right now and reduce future risk for clients.
Is this just Windows Phone with some tweaks?
WE8H is based on the WP8 core and it does look a lot more like WP8 and what you see on the Nokia Lumia range. So usability is up, however there are a lot of differences between the 2 OS’s.
So it’s as easy to port to Android? Why would I port to WE8H?
Well firstly it’s easier if you already know Android and Java. Many Microsoft houses don’t so you still get to work with familiar tools and technology like C# if porting to WE8H. There is work required though and I will share that some Microsoft people here struggled more understanding the W8P solution process than the IOS/Android ones. I’d go as far as saying though that in this new multi-os hybrid world we live in WE8H is not as familiar to many as you might think. Also WE8H is designed to integrate far better with back end systems that are Microsoft..yada yada yada…yawn. We heard it all before. IOS and Andoird have way big enough app producers to get round all of that!
If the peripheral integration into the SDK lives up to what I think it is, then that will be nice. If you can have pure, direct data capture from within the SDK then that will be a big benefit for building solutions with data capture. Trick is how many businesses going mobile today actually see that as a benefit?
Is there an SDK and is peripheral support in that?
Yes and Yes, download it here and as far as we have worked out the SDK does have a lot of the peripheral support in it already but it’s currently limited. It’s
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