Its Windows Embedded 8 Handheld week at Rugged and Mobile!

For those of you that don’t know Windows Mobile has been living strong in the rugged PDA world, despite its fall from grace and now replacement by Windows Phone in the smartphone and consumer tablet markets but it  still represents possibly the best mobile operating system for business data systems.  Sure it’s user interface is god awful, it doesn’t even know what Twitter is and if you can’t do it without a stylus then it’s not worth doing are all mantra’s iPhone and Android smartphone users would be visibly sick hearing but Windows mobile still does a lot that IOS and Android don’t and it still has it’s place in the business world.

First lets just clear up what I mean by Windows Mobile.  Windows mobile (WM) is the Wm5.0, 6.0, 6.1 and 6.5 line of operating systems that sits on things like Motorola ES400’s or Pidion BIP-6000’s. It turned into Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 a couple of years back which most people still don’t see any differences in and there it has stood ever since.  However Microsoft finally announced it’s successor OS naming it Windows Embedded 8 Handheld early in 2013 but despite a few pilot projects stuttering and starting in the America’s we’re still waiting to see the first  fully fledged device come to the general market.

Now unlike most Windows mobile updates we’ve known from v5.0 to 6.5, WE8H is not going to be compatible at all, it will look like Windows 8 Phone edition but it will remain a completely different operating system aimed squarely at the barcode scanning, business data syncing and RFID reading rugged customer!

So what benefits does WE8H bring the rugged user?

Firstly the OS is built to accommodate far better touch based usability.  I think what we read into this is that even in the logistics end of the business world, we’re all wanting a better experience when using the mobile device we’ve been given.

Secondly there’s built in support for POS (Point of sale/service) with Microsoft saying that they are working to improve ease of building apps in the whole POS chain from line-busting to the POS terminal itself.  As you know POS is seriously going mobile now, its not the locked down PCI world is once was and people don;t like tills any more (Did we ever?).

Lastly support for hardware peripherals will be built in so if you’re Motorola Solutions you can build your barcode scanner SDK right into the OS giving fine control over any bespoke added hardware. This however has been given a boost by clearly extending support for many more hardware types like mag strip readers, better RFID integration, Hosted USB  and more.

Pilots running now

The one big pilot that has been running ins the “Home Depot” one in the USA.  A solid Windows mobile user already, Home Depot have been trialling WE8H to enable their workers to spend more time assisting customers directly and whilst we’ve heard of issues working with hardware suppliers (Is it Motorola, is it Pidion?) they are at least making progress and moving WE8H onwards.  More here on that in the video below:

So that still leaves a lot of questions for us lowly non-pilot customers and resellers and i’ll cover that off in the next post right here?

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About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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One Response

  1. southland58

    I wish I knew what all of this will mean to me, a home inspector and user of WM 6.1. I can’t envision making field reports in my occupation with anything other than an advanced word processor.