So the Motorola ES400 is now available on O2 on contract and I have promised our community a candid article on this so here it is!  These are facts and also my views and opinions on them so please take the article as you find it and of course if you want to talk further then you know where we all are!

What is the O2 deal?

We rang them up when we found that some of our established current customers (whom we’re talking to about MC55’s) have been actively marketed to via O2 and Motorola, we’re a bit miffed as are many rugged PDA resellers.  They are offering an ES400 for £160 on a 24 month £30 per month contract.

Does this change the scenario for the ES400?

Well yes it does and the difference could be the success of your business.  What Motorola have tried to do is tell everyone this is a rugged pda but then sell it like a mobile phone.  At best it is sending out a garbled marketing message, at worst it has caused so much confusion and argument in the Rugged world and with our customers that to some it could be seen as misleading.

It changes the positioning of the ES400 away from a Semi-Rugged PDA to a Rugged Mobile phone.  The difference is stark and you will see major risks to your solution if you are trying to run a business critical solution on a mobile phone based platform.

Why would you buy a Semi-Rugged PDA on contract?

  1. The up front cost is unbeatable and not attainable by a Rugged Reseller, we’re stuck with the distribution pricing for SIM Free unlocked devices.
  2. The pricing might enable you to get your purchase of phone through an easier budget.
  3. If you want a slightly tougher mobile phone to give to your workers to use as a phone or for email then OK, this is fine.

Why is it dumb to buy a semi rugged pda on contract with alone O2?

  1. It’s a question of putting anything business critical into the hands of a network provider.  If our business O2 service is anything to go by then the service and support from O2 will be dreadful compared to a rugged reseller whose business depends on great service.
  2. When you get a problem, you will be a small customer, talking to people who do not understand Motorola or their processes, who have not built up the right relationships over the years, who are not Rugged PDA experts and who are probably not passionate about or even taken the time to play with the device at all.
  3. The network deal is 2 years long, you will not be able to get out of it and if you want to upgrade to something more rugged you will have to look for someone else to help you.  It is a short-term view.
  4. What happens if you suddenly need more rugged devices, who handles the support now? who do you go to?
  5. From my experience no-one has talked to the client about service or support on these devices.  It also seems that O2 are dealing with device issues themselves in the “Insurance” manner meaning you are putting your solution at greater risk with refurbished units with different serial numbers coming back every time you have a problem.  Device management hell!!
  6. We can supply any contract through far better service providers at a far reduced price than O2 can provide.  Don’t lock yourself in, we’re already speaking to people who have just tied their business critical solution in with this kind of deal and they are seeing their business being put at risk and they can’t get out.
    There was a fantastic opportunity to have a community of Rugged PDA experts position this device into an emerging market, fixing all the issues it has (remember the MC35 Motorola!!) and establishing it as a potential leader in the field.

With the Semi Rugged PDA market growing fast this was a real opportunity to forge ahead into this market, however by side stepping the Rugged PDA reseller community like this it will ultimately undermine the ES400.  We’re already seeing issues with the device but due to the manner it is sold we simply will not be able commit to putting these right.  If anyone remembers the problems the Motorola MC35 had then just be very very aware of the risk you are taking.  They were only fixed through the dedication of the rugged reseller community and this is probably not going to happen with this device.

My advice is to treat the ES400 as a mobile phone, like any other HTC or Acer smartphone.  If you want to base your business critical application on a mobile phone and haven’t learnt yet that this is not the way to go then call O2 or go on EBay, save some pennies up front and good luck.  If you want a rugged solution then go talk to some in the rugged PDA market who will offer expertise, knowledge and be there throughout for you.

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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