So as part of our Rugged Android PDA and Rugged Tablet series we’re going to ask that question of why Android is not MIssion critical and as such not yet right for the rugged market. OK so that’s a little strong and in the right hands Android can and is a very nice OS to use, but for the laymen out there what I wanted to point out were the potential pitfalls of running mission critical solutions on top of the Android Platform.
Popularity + Open Source OS = Hackers Delight!
OK, so we’ve all heard about the “security” risks of Android, but what does this really mean? Essentially as the popularity of Android increases (in fact its the number 1 smartphone OS now), Android becomes OS of choice to hack and break. malware is an issue on these devices and people have been downloading naughty apps aimed at breaking the open source OS. Because Android is an opensource OS it’s also easier to understand where the chink in its armour are and so we’ve seen hackers using all manner of protocols from SMS texts to apps to get in to the sensitive data on your phone. Google has hit back with the “Bouncer” service but this is largely aimed at the app store users and won’t really help Rugged users.
You know you have to sympathise with Microsoft. They ceased all development about 10 years ago on their products for over 12 months in order to get their security tighter on their main products and OS’s. It’s not the turn of someone else to manage the most popular OS and how well a job will be done of this remains to be seen!
I think a key issue with Android devices, having got up to speed with them the past few months, is the way they connect and interact with your PC. They are more difficult to programme and sync up with your PC and this will bring new issues to users looking to connect and sync data in a batch mode manner. Windows mObile devices automatically sync and are built into most Windows platforms so we’re finding this is a key area with customers where they are asking for more help from us.
OK Eclipse and Java aren’t the worst tools you can use for development but most programmers have to pick up a new technology and learn it and for people who have any resident Microsoft skills it is a steep learning curve. Windows Mobile apps were created straight out the same Visual Studio tools you use for your Web and windows solutions, everything is far more familiar and getting good, decent mobile apps working with a seamless set of technologies is far more difficult on Android devices.
Change is Bad!
Ok, so I do like change, I love to see new cars, new gadgets and new fashions but not at work! When I have a solution running at the heart of my business, changing anything should be a big deal as it can break my whole business. Android has no clear, defined roadmap, no clear defined support and the devices it runs on tend to unsupported. Even manufacturers that have adopted versions of Android to help support are not helping as it’s the resellers who need to really be the experts and the differences in versions of Android are so big that older OS’s are often very lacking in the best features. It’s big conundrum for business users.
Sorry…You want Support for that?
So some manufacturers are trying to support their android devices, but where does the great support really come from? Not the manufacturers but the resellers. We’re very forward thinking here at Rugged and mobile but the decision to adopt Android properly is stretching us and we’re not even certain it’ll take off. Rugged Tablets are driving Android in the rugged market right now but with Windows 8 and especially Windows 8 RT on the horizon, are we really willing to commit everything to Android just yet? I think it’s a lot of change for our market and if it floods with Android too quickly it will spell trouble for customers. You can;t just change your kit every 12 months in this game!
I think these are the biggest worries for us in our drive to ensure customers get the right product and one that will last for them. I’d be interested really interested in what others have to say so please comment as much as you like.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.