NOTE: THIS BLOG IS NOW CLOSED! VISIT OUR NEW BLOG FOR TIPS AND ADVICE ON RUGGED ANDROID SMARTPHONES
We’re all about ruggedness here at Raptor, in fact, it’s been the heart of what we do and believe in for many years and being rugged is not only an ideology here it’s a belief that we know saves businesses time, money and keeps them running when their consumer devices are in for repair or in the bin!
We’ve already blogged extensively about being rugged and in fact if you want to know more, then just sign up for our newsletter which gives you a free guide to ruggedness as part of the deal. However, this blog gives our top 10 the best tips, tricks and secret tweaks that will make your mobile platform even more robust. Actually, make that 11 tips… Don’t drive over your device unless you have a Raptor!
Now let’s just be clear about 1 thing here. I don’t mean buy a consumer device and then buy a case for it. Consumer devices are not built inherently rugged and a case is only going to make it a little more durable. So why buy a case for an already rugged device? Well, a lot of damage occurs to devices when they’re actually not in use. A case will not only look after the device, keeping it safe when not in use and also extending its life and possibly value at the end of its life. It will also help with the ergonomics of your users and this makes dropping or breaking your mobile handheld less likely.
Using a £25 holster or case stops all kinds of issues dead.
If I got a £1 for every device we saw with a failed screen due to it being scratched or “keyed” then I’d be far richer than I am today!! Use the screen protector provided with your device and keep it fresh if it starts to peel or come away as you’ll save £1000’s on repairs if you do!
A hand strap is often cited as a must-have feature when we’re working with clients on their 3rd or 4th iteration of device update. It’s funny but those who have had mobile devices before all ask for it and the reason is that a hand strap stops users from dropping a device.
Not many people seem to do this but a simple elastic tether can stop your device from falling too far if dropped. No amount of ruggedness will help if your device is dropped from 40 feet so tether it to your belt or case so it can’t!
Whilst some devices simply don’t have hand straps for them, a wrist strap is cheap and often able to be anchored to your device. Whilst not as effective or as ergonomic as a full hand strap, a wrist strap will still help with drops and breaks for the sake of £5.
It’s an unfortunate problem these days because the Android capactive experience just doesn’t work so well on recessed screens, however at Raptor we offer a screen recess add-on that will significantly reduce screen cracks if a device is dropped flat onto its face.
Some devices are simply more rugged than others and this is usually down to the particular design of it. Looks for thick plastic corners that will keep the screen safe, rounded or chiselled off corners will help with bouncing and impact too. Also, check for items like the case or battery cover that don;t screw in and could easily unclip when dropped and antenna that can break very easily.
Watch out for spec sheets as they only tell half the story, aren’t great tests or sell you something that’s often irrelevant anyway. Firstly to be rugged in 2016 you need to have an IP rating of at least IP65, we’d recommend IP67 these days but if you see a device trying to sell you on IP54 or something like that then they’re praying on your naivety. You also need to check the drop specs carefully. Watch out for devices that have been dropped onto steel or softer ground like wood or lino and always ask about the way they have been tested and to what level. Whilst MIL-STD is a great start, it’s also only a guideline to testing so ask for more transparency by demanding videos or more testing documentation to see just how rugged a device is as these guidelines are easy to cheat.
Whilst having lovely iPhone-like beautiful soft touch buttons is great for a consumer device, business/enterprise mobile handhelds need to have something that will last a little longer and also not switch the device on when stored in a pocket or holder. Nice string rubber buttons will not only last a lot longer and be durable to the elements too but they will mean they make more sense to a glove wearing user too with more definite button presses.
At the end of the day, even a rugged device is a complex piece of electronics and it can be broken if you don’t treat it with at least a little respect. I cannot tell you how many issues with device breaking I have resolved with just a little bit of good advice based on some simple investigation of user behaviour, so if you’re starting to see a pattern of broken devices then the first thing to do is look into it and try to advise your users.
So that’s my top 10, although I have lots more and learn something new from a customer every day. Do you have any secrets that worked for you? If so then let me have a comment or get in touch and we’ll add it in.