So the last blog was about why larger rugged PDA’s are still the best choice for some, but we probably now sell more smaller devices than the classic larger ones here so whilst the trend is still to go rugged, a lot of you are liking the smaller smartphone like size of device available today. I asked as many people as I could why they went for a smaller rugged smartphone for their business and this is what they said!
Most popular was the sheer reason that a smaller, 4.3″ screened rugged smartphone was simply more familiar than the larger rugged PDA. This means less training, higher user satisfaction and this productivity goes up.
Following on from above, the fact that the smaller rugged smartphones ran Android was a real decision breaker for many. Whilst Android does run on larger rugged PDA’s, it was clear to some that it’s often an old version due to the spec of rugged PDA’s being lower than is needed for Android 4.0+, or they were simply not familiar enough with Android on them, often seeming a bit retro-fitted to the qwerty keypads etc.
It’s not necessarily true that smaller devices are lower in price but generally I have to say they tend to be. The reason for this is that many run the open source Android OS and they have focussed on what’s important to many businesses. No longer are mobile devices the mainstay of big retail customers scanning barcodes. Now all businesses use them as part of their every day processes so not everyone needs to scan barcodes or do things with RFID or even GPS. A £300 rugged smartphone that’s small, light and familiar is often just the ticket for some.
I got told by a fair few people that they thought a smaller rugged PDA was a lot more flexible for their users. They tend to have Micro-USB ports for adhoc charging, accessories seemed a lot cheaper and with many smaller rugged smartphones like those from Gen2Wave for example, there are still all the typical data capture options like quad cradles and snap ons that all PDA’s have anyway. Also it seems that smaller rugged PDA’s were just deemed as being able to be used in more areas and by more users than their larger counter parts that were seen as tools for more specific jobs, rather than a mobile platform to run any part pf their business upon.
I guess this goes without saying. Smaller, lighter, bigger screen, more familiar form factor and OS = end users more happy! I think with mobile now becoming the mainstream in business and enterprise, users are not just expecting their mobile business tools to be more like their own devices but they just don’t get why they have to be so different. Well these days they don’t have to be different at all!