Android is here, but is it good enough to beat Windows Mobile in a Rugged environment?

Android is here, but is it good enough to beat Windows Mobile in a Rugged environment?

So we’re continuing the Android theme this week, where we started off with a high level overview of Android in the rugged marketplace on rugged PDA’s. This post will take a look at the pro’s and cons of running Android on a rugged PDA or rugged tablet.

The first thing to just remember is that we’re not talking smart phone here, we’re talking about running Android in a Mission Critical environment.  The devices don’t just have to be rugged, they also have to be mission critical and rugged in 5 ways to ensure that they can be relied upon for years by companies running core solutions on them, so…there’ll be no Windows phone, no IOS and no Blackberry mentioned here!

Android V’s Windows Mobile – The Pros

  • User interface is better, so if you’re a user that needs your staff to use the PDA as a phone, PIM device and email then the Android has a better interface to use. Android has been written to use capacitive screens and fingers.  WM is still a little bit in the Stylus era!
  • Internet browsing is better on the Android.  It’s just got a better browser than Microsoft Mobile Explorer.  If you plan on running your apps through a web browser then Android is the best here.
  • Screen sizes are handled better by Android PDA’s.  Change the ratio and Android apps seem to be able to cope with it far better.
  • OS development is free, open source and far easier than Microsoft WM. Sure CE is equally free and easy but full WM OS development is tricky, locked in to a few people and not easy to bring a product to market on.

Android V’s Windows Mobile – The Cons

  • Windows Mobile is lighter, smaller and contrary to belief needs less power and RAM to run well.
  • Android requires you to run apps in local memory. With WM you can install apps onto SD cards, persistent memory and all kinds of places.
  • WM is far better at integrating with Exchange Servers and your PC.  It’s had years of syncing experience and in our view most Android devices still have trouble connecting to PC’s and syncing to servers.
  • Device SDK’s are lacking in the Android versions right now.  THe WM ones are fuller, less buggy and as such less risky to use.
  • Android OS’s change….a lot and even Android books go out of fashion in about 3 months!!  You have to look for a hardware provider that will support your version or you need to do it yourself.

Dispelling The Myths!

  • Android is a multi tasking OS though?  Yes and so is Window Mobile, in fact WM will happily run all kinds of things in the background and has been doing so for years!
  • But the app store is where it’s at, WM doesn’t have one of those?  Yes but Mission critical users develop their own apps or install bespoke services.  The App store is a moot argument here.
  • Windows Mobile is end of life though isn’t it?  absolutely not.  It’s here to stay, its called Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 in it’s current form and Microsoft have committed fully to it, see right here!

Conclusion

So the burning questions we always get is whether Android is as good as Windows Mobile.  The short answer is, unless you have in-house expertise that can support you then no, nothing is better right now for a mission critical rugged PDA platform. Android is good, there’s no doubt about that and many people with the in-house skills are looking at it and testing Android Rugged PDA’s and there is a definite area of PDA users that will benefit from Cheaper, smaller Rugged Android devices but most people are waiting to see, not buying just yet.

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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