We’re of course looking at the iPad here as we feel it could be used in all manner of remote or mobile kind of applications where data needs to be viewed. If you shut your eyes and look at that Motorola/Intermec infested warehouse, you can also maybe just see a few Managers walking round with iPads or maybe even an iPad on the wall somewhere!! You know it’s going to happen!
What are you mad you can’t have an iPad in a warehouse environment, or can you! Well we think in the case of a tablet PC you could.
First the price of a WiFi only 16GB iPad is around the £400 (Exc VAT). This is pretty much unparalleled in this market and if had a more rugged option at this kind of price then we would capture a whole new market that isn’t buying at all. We feel that the Tablet market needs a kind of “shiny” device that is the catalyst, just like HTC phones have proven the concept of mobility, even thought they totally unsuited to a rugged environment.
Second we’ve got iPhone expertise and the developer network is growing at an alarming rate so the skills are already there to quickly and cheaply build the software required. Lastly I think it is feasible that for a tablet you could make it rugged enough with the right case and this is where our friends at Otterbox come in.
Now listen, from experience alone, a Otterbox on an HTC phone will never ever be as rugged as a semi-rugged equivalent like a Pidion BM150R or Airo A25 and there are all manner of other reasons why HTC phones are next to useless in all but the whitest of collar working environments. To name a few, products roadmaps and products disappearing after a few months leaving software high and dry on the only available newer devices, no proper support and the fact that a shiny phone will always end up costing you at least 5 times more over a 5 year period, despite the up front cost being lower.
We’re already working on some test software now and we’ll be putting our little iPad into some test environments soon so check back soon when we do. In the meantime you might want to ask Otterbox to hurry up!!
The Rugged and Mobile blog.