To round off this series about Rugged PDA ruggedness I’m going to talk about all the stuff that’s not on the spec sheet and summarise in our top ten tips on ruggedness the most common ways people or manufacturers make their rugged handheld PDA’s, un-rugged!  So without further a-do we’ll tell you the top 5 things we see that customers do, or give customers trouble and what to watch for.

1. Micro USB

Micro USB is being seen more and more commonly on rugged PDA’s as manufacturers strive to meet lower device prices and standardize their accessories, however the fact remains that it still causes loads of issues.  It’s usually ill placed, on the side of the Rugged PDA so it breaks easily, it’s also not waterproof in any way and if it breaks it’s often a mainboard due to the way these connectors are soldered onto the boards these days.

2. Rubber covers

So you have an IP65 device, but does it pass that test if the rubber covers over the connectors and headphone sockets come off or are unused on the device?  Just be careful, often they’re not.

3. Touchscreen Protectors

Touchscreens will break if they get scratched and we get loads of touchscreens come in here for repair with wear and scratches that could easily have been averted by using a £5 screen protector.  Use the one in the box and tell your users to replace them if they wear out!

4. Using a case

Not only does a case protect your device when not in use, but it also can help with ergonomics whilst in use.  We’re able to make bespoke cases for any rugged pda, tablet or printer here and they cost anything from £15 to £40.  Having a case that works for you will  definitely prolong the age of your devices but will also make them less frustrating to use and even more re-sellable when you want to trade them in.

5. User education

Often overlooked or assumed is just how well your users have been educated to use their rugged pda. It’s often assumed that because they’re using a rugged PDA, they can chuck it about anywhere, drop it into 30 feet of water or throw it 40 metres up into the air and let it drop on to concrete.  Users not only get frustrated with rugged pda’s if they don’t know how to use them, but they also need to understand that they are still complex electronic devices that can break is mis-handled.

So armed with the above, it might make you think twice about how well you have deployed and manage your rugged pda estate.  Just remember there are lots you can do to take control and keep your solution running too.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.