I so love getting the honour of doing this blog at the end of the year, it’s so cool to see how right and also wrong we were about the past year! So this time last year we made some predictions about the rugged and mobile markets and this is what we said!
1. Windows mobile dies!
Well it has taken a few blows from Android this year but it certainly isn’t dead by any means. It’s had a new version come out which no-one knows anything about and we’re yet to see on a rugged device! But it’s still here, alive and kicking.
2. Mobile payments takes off
We had 3 mobile payments based projects this year and we’re talking to current customers about how they can push the payments system out to their mobile platform too so this has seen focus for us this year. We’ve also worked with NFC closely too and on Android especially this technology is really now starting to fly.
3. Tablet war gets hotter
Well it certainly did! The ipad family got larger, Android tablets are everywhere, Tesco brought out a £90 one (It’s crap by the way unless you’re 6 years old!), and lots of customers demanded larger screens. Are they buying rugged Android 7″ tablets? Not so sure about that but we did see growth in windows and android kit across the board.
4. Change is the challenge for mission critical
This we’re seeing as a challenge hitting businesses before we thought it would. Business IT used to be about being safe, reducing risks and 3-5 year cycles on hardware. How do you d that though when every device brings something new to the market and your competition are using them? We’ve seen focus on small, cheaper rugged devices this year, and lower priced brands have flourished due to that. The larger brands have struggled to maintain trust in this area of the market but keep trying but for us the challenge has been to find ways of being remarkable with kit that’s half the price and gives half the margin. This challenge will certainly continue into 2014 and well beyond.
5. More device form factors
Well this was inevitable but because we work with so closely with China and Asian producers we knew this was coming! The obvious 4.3″, 5″ and rise of the “smartphone 800×480 LCD has now hit us in earnest, however we also saw all kinds of new styles of device hitting the market with 3.2″ screens, 6” screens and all kinds of keypads and unique features too. The jumble sale will continue, it’ll get faster, make sure you work with a reseller who can guide you through the woods!
6. Microsoft – The return of the king
… Oops! This didn’t really happen. Remember we’re rugged people here so we love Microsoft, but these days we also love IOS and Android too but the promise for the “1 tablet does all” from Microsoft simply didn’t materialise. Add to this their Windows Mobile product line is sketchy, poorly advertised and managed and they really are falling from grace in our humble opinion.
7. BYOD (Bring your own device)
We’re not sure about this one. You’ll largely find mobile device management companies blurting on about it because it’s in their interest to have a BYOD market, but it really doesn’t make business sense to us because of the hardware repair element. I think we’ll see this trend ease of in 2014 as businesses find cheaper, better more manageable solutions to install.
8. 4G becomes reality
They took their time but you have to say that 4G has arrived, albeit only in the main cities for now. It does work though, there are well priced plans for it but as a reliable business network with full UK coverage it’s not there yet. Better hold off on those media centric mobile solutions for now then!
9. Cloud applications
I was talking to a customer about this just last week and we were both amazed at how 2013 has seen a huge shift in business thinking on cloud computing. We certainly don’t have the hang-ups we once did and we’re now more focussed on the benefits so cloud computing is here, it’s here to stay and it’s just great!
10. Android marches on
We couldn’t have been more right about this. We helped a number of manufacturers with Android prototypes in 2012 but 2103 saw a huge leap into “Rugged Android” where we went from 1 or 2 devices to over 10 now offering Android. This won’t stop, we’re going to see more and more new brands with new devices that will be supported as well as anything else so don’t blink as it’s all happening here in 2014.
So that’s our review of 2013, we were more right than I thought to be honest, but I think we were a little sfae so with our predictions for 2014, i’ll make sure we get a bit ore edgy and put our necks on the block a little bit more.
Have your say too, comment or tweet us at @ruggedandmobile for you opinions too.