Pidion in our view are the serious contender on the block and their range of Rugged PDA’s are not only bang on technically but they really are the Rugged PDA manufacturer who are making things happen right now.

Brief History

Korea is where the innovation is happening right now in all walks of technology, Samsung toppled Sony 2 years ago as the largest electronics manufacturer in the world and they represent the quality arm of the powerful eastern economic machine.  Bluebird Soft are Korea’s largest Rugged Manufacturer, shadowing the likes of Mobile Compia (or M3 Mobile) and the plethora of smaller makers and since 1995 they have established themselves as a player on a global level.  Their game changing moment came when they won their own domestic KoreaPost contract which makes our own Royal Mail service look like a play thing!

Positioning

Rugged PDA’s are the focus for Pidion.  There’s 1 scanner, a few mobile phones which are part of a different business, but the Pidion part of the business focusses firmly on Rugged PDA’s.  There’s a great range serving the field mobile segment with the most complete range on the market.  No less than 5 devices give you all manner of options here whilst their roots in the mobile EPOS sector have also given rise to an EPOS range of devices that you still see being used on those Easyjet flights today amongst many others.

Pidion understand the role of the PDA in mobile solutions, they focus their efforts on this and it is paying off.

Innovation

Pidion still lack a little bit of the subtle stuff, so if you’re looking for exceptional battery management or apparently better NIT ratings for an LCD then they’re not quite there yet (They do use the same LCD’s as everyone else though).  However they get round this by giving you bigger, cheaper batteries so the end result is the same.  It’ll work for now but they need to look more at these issues in the future as they become more topical.  However their innovation in device technology is there to rival the best and includes the first Rugged PDA to ever have RFID built in with brand new MAX RFID readers in their BIP-6000 range that wipe the floor with anything MC75’s and CN70’s can “Snap on”.  They have camera based barcode readers for their semi-rugged PDA’s, the best CPU’s, mainboards and RAM technology and they have the most standardised platform in the market, meaning you can mix and match devices with far less risk and again this was something that they were first doing.

Android is also something we’re heavily involved in here with Pidion being the first device manufacturer to adopt full commercial versions for its devices.  Android currently offers the only end to end OS solution for mobile solutions so it’s only going to get more popular in our market.

Range

Field Mobile

BM150R – Semi Rugged PDA

BM170- Semi Rugged PDA

BIP-5000 – Lightweight Rugged PDA

BIP-6000 – Mid weight RUgged PDA with built in RFID

Warehouse

BIP-7000 – Scan intensive “picking” focussed Rugged Handheld

Mobile EPOS

BIP-1300 – EPOS terminal with RFID, Chip, Mag strip and printer built in.

BIP-1500 – Dual format small rugged EPOS terminals

All BIP-series devices come with either Windows MObile or Windows CE installed.

New devices

Q1 2010 – BIP-5000 “Black” Refresh

Q2 2010 – BM170

Q4 2010 – BIP-7000

2011 – 3 new devices imminent.

Pricing

Pricing, as you would expect, is aggressive.  Unlike leading brands like Motorola and Intermec, you get a plethora of accessories in the box for the price (you don’t even get a battery with Intermec devices!) and we continually get comments of disbelief from customers who are confused seeing this kind of quality, specification and price.  In fact we have run workshops with customers where the Pidion devices often get put at the top of the price scale when the brands are taken off the devices.

You won’t get close with anything mainstream.  Even M3 Mobile M3 devices can’t touch them.

Our verdict

There’s no doubt Pidion are growing but the difference is that they are listening, reacting and now being far more flexible about what and how resellers can operate.  They are working in a new social and collaborative manner.  This means you can adopt devices, be truly transparent about them and commit which all ultimately benefits customers and their solutions.  There’s more to life than Motorola and more and more customers are coming to us with this attitude and we rarely fail on a project now where they get a Pidion loan device from us.

Anything any other manufacturer do, be it hardware or service, Pidion now offers plus more.

Having said this, Pidion still have a long way to go.  Yes it’s exciting, yes it’s great but they are still not quite up there with the big boys in the European markets.  They’re definitely above brands like Psion, Datalogic, Honeywell and Mobile Compia already though and I strongly feel they will be a winner in this market and stir up some much-needed changes in a stale, stade rugged PDA landscape!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

3 Responses

  1. paul sherrard

    OK Pidion are producing some interesting products at attractive prices, but what about support? Do they have a genuine presence in the UK for technical advice, post sales services; repair and replacement? Are they integrated with the major Mobile Device management providers – SOTI, Synbase, Airwatch etc. What do the network providers think of them? Have they secured UK contracts with major utilities, public sector services?

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Paul

      The short answer is yes and yes but you also have to be careful not to judge a new style approach to market with the old one (in my view). Also don’t forget that all repairs from Motorola, Intermec etc are not done in the UK anyway and out of warranty for Moto devices is a real headache for customers as they clearly do not want to deal with this directly. Pidion currently have 2 official repairs centres in Northern Europe, 1 UK based with a 3rd about to be commissioned here in the UK and a 4th in Southern Europe. We also have a complete parts list here for all devices and we turn around repairs for many customers in under 24 hours. This is currently for out of warranty kit though.

      Pidion have got a relationship with Soti, we have asked to not have Soti installed on the devices though as for Line of business devices you want them as vanilla as possible and not full of rubbish before you start. It also removes our ability to be impartial. However we have tested Pidion on Soti, Airwatch, B2M and others extensively. The best product for MDM at present is none of these anyway in our view.

      Pidion have sold to NHS, Major utilities companies here in the UK and in Ireland. Easyjet have used them for years on their trolley’s and their brand list is growing faster than anyone elses.

      Please don’t buy your line of business device through a network, just go and see what has happened with the ES400 on O2, great if you need rugged phones not for a line of business solution though. If you get an issue with your device, you have to talk to an O2 operator, you effectively cut out your rugged expertise, oh yes and even service customers can’t ring the manufacturer for help.

      Lastly I would say this, the winners of tomorrow are the manufacturers that understand that the brand loyalty and advocacy are with the resellers not with themselves. The age of who can shout and interrupt loudest has gone. Its our views, our relationships and what we do here that will create the value for customers. Are we seeing this from the major brands who only know how to pander to the large customers?

  2. paul sherrard

    Thanks for the comprehensive response. Interesting…certainly food for thought!