We continue to work through the most challenging recession the UK and most of the globe has ever seen and during this we’ve seen a lot of change in our manufacturer make-up.  We try to make sense of who owns who and what is happening in the world of rugged smartphone manufacturers through some of the key stories that we have seen the past few years.

Motorola buys Psion

Probably the biggest news of 2013 until Intermec’s announcement (see below) was that Motorola Solutions bought Psion.  With the removal of the Psion brand eminent early 2014 we’ll see one of the grandfathers of the “PDA” vanish into the history books probably along with most of the range.

Intermec finally gives up to the rumours!

People have been talking about Intermec for a few years now and they finally fell to Honeywell AIDC who are currently getting the purchase approved.  Like Motorola, Honeywell pretty much bought their way into the rugged smartphone market with lots of acquisitions starting with Handheld products and the Dolphin range, Metrologic and more recently LXE.  Personally we think the range is too large, too complicated and owning Intermec will make the job 10 times harder.

It means that biggest 4 Rugged suppliers will become just 2.  Now there’s choice for the consumer!


Dotel grew from selling components onto most of South Korea’s rugged phone makers including Pidon, M3M and Samsung themselves.  They now have their own range of rugged handhelds that are great quality.

Pidion and Samsung

Pidion are funded by and are the Rugged interest of no less than the largest electronics company in the world, namely Samsung.  They even share a building in S. Korea!

Getac, Mitac, Mio

All the same group, they operate as completely separate businesses though. They are all making rugged smartphones and tablets these days!

Just which Motorola did Google buy?

Motorola has 2 divisions, “Motorola Solutions” which is the old Symbol rugged side of the business and this has stayed Motorola.  The larger Motorola mobile division was however sold of to Google for a mere £7B.  We’re still waiting for a Google branded Motorola handset more than a year later!

Cipherlab own Ganedata

Or “Gane” as they call themselves now.  Ganedata have the UK Import rights of SynQE who are a Taiwanese handset maker.

Google do own Android

The operating system is not only completely dominant in the shiny smartphone market but it’s growing in the tablet market too and is the fastest growing platform in the Rugged smartphone and rugged tablet markets as well.  It’s a great OS, it is secure if handled properly for most businesses and there’s nothing wrong with it!

Woosim and Star Micronics

They’re the same printers just rebranded.

is Windows Mobile still around?

Yes, Windows mobile 6.5 is still installed on most Rugged Phones but known as Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.  The latest version has just come out and is called Windows 8 Embedded and if you’re confused you’re the same as everyone else!

Windows Phone 7 = Windows 8 Phone /= Windows Mobile

Hope that helps with a bunch of questions we had on the subject.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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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2 Responses

  1. Larry Silverman

    If you don’t mind my asking, can you provide a citation that links Pidion to Samsung? I didn’t know they were related and I can’t find any evidence to substantiate it. Thanks!