Rugged PDA’s are expanding in their style and type, especially with the introduction of rugged Android PDA’s which inherently change as they keep up with the latest and greatest technology and operating system updates.  When you add in the price of some of these devices which can be bought for as little as £250 they can make a tempting case for customers.

However Just because they’re rugged doesn’t mean they’ll be a useful work tool and we get lots of customers who’ve learnt this the hard way. I wanted to pass on what we’ve learned over the past years in a top 5.

In at 5 – Simply not rugged!

Yes, believe it or not we’ve seen gorilla glass on the spec sheet and not seen it on the rugged PDA.  Also IP67 or whatever it is worked on day 1 but actually had no test certificates and on day 31 started to leak and MIL-STD, tumble and drop tests seem to be missing or abused on many cheaper devices that simply do not have the price model to factor in proper tests.

At 4 – “Cheap” means cheap baby!

So on paper anything can look good, however in the hand the rugged PDA’s often don’t live up to expectations and this goes for some prestige brand kit as well as the cheaper Chinese based stuff.

At 3 – Lack of reseller support

This covered the whole spectrum of services you would get from a reseller who has committed expertise and products designed to run business solutions.  The reason cited included:

  • No loan kit
  • No expertise to help with the device beyond the manual.
  • Poor repair services
  • No accessories
  • No updates or tweaks
  • No reseller commitment or passion for what they sell.

Nearly the worst reason at 2 its Tied in to network

Companies seem to be buying these cheaper Chinese imports via network companies who sell them on contract.  Whilst this can bring prices right down for some (and keep profits up for the reseller!), it does leave many with a device that’s either not up to the job or gone end of life well before the contract end.  With no replacement that’s guaranteed to work it left many businesses tied in for 2 years with no satisfactory hardware that was often all different and therefore impossible to manage.

The top reason – Lack of product roadmap

Great so you’ve been given a budget of £500 per rugged PDA, you just spent £250, say £300 with some accessories and you’re really chuffed.  But, 4 months later the device just goes away, along with the support or any roadmap or updated device that appreciates it needs to work in a platform with older devices.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about keeping your business running and cheap rarely means better.

So the choice remains what it always was and the question remains the same as business has always asked….

….”Do you want to work with better or with cheaper.”  Please note the “OR” in that sentence.

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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