Fresh form a get together with Bluebird Pidion last week one of the top items on the agenda for us was to get the lowdown on Windows Embedded 8.1 and to answer a few questions for our readers and customers so I put all the questions we had been getting fomr you to them and here’s the answers below:
1. Why is it called WE 8.1? Surely it should be W8.1 Embedded?
You’d think so too, but alas these OS’s are written by different teams and I think they like to keep things separate so the OS is called WE8.1 which is slightly out of sync with the naming of all of the other OS’s Microsoft produces!
2. Windows 10 is out now, will the be a WE10?
Yes there will, we talked about it already but so far I have no release date or anything more to add.
3. Why is the release of WE8.1 so elusive and quiet?
Alas, we’re right with you on that one! and for me history dictates that this is the way they do it! Don’t forget that this OS needs hardware to run on which Microsoft don;t own so there’s lots of working in sync with hardware partners to do to bring it all together.
4. What will WE8.1 run on?
At this point (Check the date on this blog!) only 2 devices run WE8.1. The first is the Panasonic FZ-E1, which is a tablet-y type of rugged device. The second is the Bluebird Pidion BM180 or it’s more rugged sister device the BP30. At this time there are no other devices at all.
5. What about Motorola, Honeywell and everyone else?
Well in the past it has always been Moto and Honeywell that lead with the newer OS’s but if you read about and add the inside scoop to that you’ll see that both companies are not lead parters with Microsoft any longer. I have been told they will be releasing a WE8.1 device but so far have not had any feedback on this what-so-ever. I would suggest taking a look at the device releases both companies have made in the past 12-18 months as this gives you a clue as to where they are both focussing their strategies on.
6. Will my WP8.1 apps run on WE8.1?
We’ve been running some pilots with customers and the feedback is that they do, they need a tweak in places as the SDK’s are different but the core’s are the same so the porting is nowhere near as diffcult as Windows MObile to WE is.
7. Will my apps port from Windows Mobile 6.5 to WE8.1?
In a nutshell not easily and turning to feedback from our customers we get about 30% saying they are waiting for WE8.1 before they make a decision, 30% are staying put on WM6.5 for the next investment period and 40% are moving to Android. The Androidsters are telling us it’s easier to re-write their apps to Android and to then update them more frequently than it was to port to WE8.1 under the beta.
I think if you are simply porting an app from WM to WE then you;re wasting your time, the OS’s are so different with so many feature improvements that the whole point of porting is to be ready to include all the new features the OS brings.
8. When will there be more choice on devices?
We’re not sure, and that’s because no-one is talking. We live in a multi-OS environment now and manufacturers are ,making decisions based upon that but watching everyone else very carefully. As soon as we know anything we’ll let you know.
9. What would you choose? Android or WE8.1?
Tough question as we all come from Microsoft backgrounds here. Android is fine for all but the very most secure apps in our opinion and there are ways to work and lock it down if you purchase the correct tools and support. It’s open, updated all the time and has the latest features and we love it here. It has taken huge market share of the rugged market and you cannot ignore it any more.
WE8.1 will give users the secure “Microsoft end-to-end” solution that is critical for some however we have so little inof and data that it’s hard to work out whats happening and when at this point. Maybe to not be able to answer that question easily gives you our answer!
We’ll post updates out as they come along, if you have a question then just use the comments sections or tweet us at @ruggedandmobile and we’ll try to answer anything you ask.