To close off this Rugged PDA Accessory week, we thought we take a look at 3rd party rugged accessories, how this has developed and where it might lead into the future.
If you look at brands like Intermec and Motorola which are still the 2 leading brands in the UK, then you’ll find a range of 3rd party accessories for them if you look. There are cases, car cradles and a range of snap ons that extend functionality like RFID reading among other items and people often say this is down to the sheer popularity of some of the devices these companies sell. This might have been the case in the past but I’m no longer so sure.
I think another reasons could be down to certain manufacturers being far more open with their connector specifications and pin outs and we’re seeing moves in the rugged PDA market to support better development of accessories. Sure you need to have some kind of quantity of scale to tool up and to cover development and testing costs but we live in a world now where these have reduced significantly and the development process has become far easier to run with. In fact developing products has never been so easy and is certainly no longer only the realm of the big boys.
You can approach a Rugged PDA in 2 ways. You can control every aspect of it, make sure that everything used with it is controlled and also make sure that the service, parts and repairs can’t be obtained anywhere else. The idea of this is that the manufacturer can then offer and deliver promises about service, repairs, the device and its accessories but I think in today’s world it’s also means you risk providing a sterile device, expensive rugged accessories and service/support that are inflexible, impersonal and proving in my view to not move with the times.
The second approach you could take is to opensource your product. The iPhone is a device that has done this and despite all the closed shop ways Apple often like to work under, the “POP” port on all its mobile devices has created a huge family of innovative products from simple chargers, to medical equipment. Like-wise with service and support. The task is not about controlling the support customers get with a fixed unflexible process, the key here is to help resellers and distributors to offer innovative, unique and exceptional products and services to their customers.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.