So we all know that Google’s operating system for Mobile devices, namely Android, has taken the smartphone and tablet world by storm With but does  it work in the Rugged world and what Android Rugged PDA’s are available?

With Google Android being free and open source, it was only a  matter of time before it became available on a Rugged PDA and as usual it seems to be Pidion that are first to adopt and certify the OS on 2 of their rugged PDA’s.  Pidion have a lot of “firsts” in their history which makes them such a great platform to develop on and this is another case of them being first here, dealing with all the issues new tech brings whilst others sit and watch!

There are open builds available but Pidion have decided to adopt and certify a version, V2.1, for 2 of their devices the Pidion BIP-6000 and their semi-rugged BM170.  Both run version 2.1 of the OS and both run it very smoothly indeed.  In terms of using the PDA with android in it, they both perform perfectly fine, no glitches or annoying freezes but it’s where the SDK reaches that’s important for us folk.  There is an SDK for both Android versions of the devices.  The BM170 is pretty well complete as it doesn’t carry any big options or scanning hardware in it.  The BIP-6000 has now got inclusion for the RFID Reader and Barcode scanners in the SDK which are growing all the time to come into line with the Microsoft Windows Mobile ones for the devices.

Why Android?

Unlike Apple IOS, Android is a real contender to the Rugged OS world because it’s free, open source, supportable by resellers and manufacturers and above all it also gives users with Linux or UNIX expertise something to play with in the mobile field.  In effect it could provide your business with an end to end solution from Server to Field which 1 team could in theory support and develop for.  It can’t be ignored and it looks like we have a Microsoft V Linux thing going to start-up all over again!!

I personally don’t like Android devices, I have had too many years of Microsoft and Apple affecting my judgement but most of the office here do and when you step back from your own judgement you can see an OS that is more than equal to Windows Mobile and a platform that is easy to adopt and develop for.

Android for Line of Business?

Would I recommend Android?  Well not yet, we’re seeing a lot of people test with it, no-one has yet to buy one though and above all the major worry for me is that supportability of the OS versions.  Older versions are already off the support matrix and the main crowd tend to follow only the last 2 or 3 version updates so it is important for the device manufacturer to certify and run with a version that they will adopt and support for years to come.  Until this happens and we get a better roadmap for Android versions then we’re not too happy about placing a line of business app on them but mark my words, this is a small issue to overcome and we’re already working on how we can do this with some manufacturers.

So Android is here in the Mission Critical Rugged World, it was only a matter of time and its alive and kicking.  It does give us a real OS that is decent, good to develop on and of course opens up mobile to the non-Microsoft developer community and technically speaking its more than ready as an OS.  Indeed many software houses are already developing popular line of business apps against it too.  However it’s not ready yet for the

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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