So with 2011 fading into history, I thought we’d take a look at the trends of 2011 and see if we got them right or wrong!

The original blog can be found right here.  I’m genuinely putting our necks on the line here so here goes!!

1. Reduced Big Brand Loyalty

Got that one smack on right.  Last year was seriously the rise of the Eastern brands, coupled with the recession (or reset for those Godin fans!), we definitely saw a reduction in the big brand business we did here, whilst overall our growth continued.

2. Shift to Fully Rugged

Half right, we definitely worked with customers who understood rugged more here, however the semi-rugged market grew a lot for us here and bucked that trend somewhat.  Arguably semi-rugged PDA’s whilst physically only being semi-rugged, still enjoy most of the rugged elements of service and road map so again this trend was right, but the Jury’s half out on this one in my view.

3. The Rise of Semi-Rugged

Definitely a big growth area with the Pidion Bm170 and Motorola ES400 taking up a lot of sales here.  We didn’t see fully rugged sales drop though and it was definitely the first time mobile solutions, or those who knew semi-rugged was enough through years of user experience that went semi-rugged.

4. Reseller Expertise and Brand Advocacy

After a year of blurting on about this to Manufacturers we still get made to feel we’re bonkers but this is a generally known trend now in most markets.  Despite margins being challenged in challenging times for businesses in the UK, resellers that have knowledge and expertise will get the best customers, will gain repeat business and will win out over the low margin box shifter in the end.

5. Cradle to Cradle usage of the Rugged PDA.

Not quite a 2011 thing this, but i think we’ll see this slowly develop further as people learn to not throw things away so much, we’ll see greater usage of kit for longer.  Resellers and manufactures will have to get used to this and develop new ways to keep kit running longer.

6.  Rugged PDA Health check

A lot happened in the MDM market last year.  Airwatch grew hugely, some manufacturers launched their own free MDM services and resellers definitely had to re-think the way they sold and serviced PDA’s better.  We’ll see this trend continue into 2012 and faster.

7. Smartphone and Rugged gap will widen

Well the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile / Embedded handheld 6.5 OS split certainly di do this but then the emergence of Android has forced it back together again just a bit.

8.  Emergence of Android

OK, OK so we knew about some of these devices a while back but we saw the official launch of 3 Android based Rugged PDA’s and 1 Tablet last year with more to come.  Android is definitely getting into the Rugged Bed.

9.  Screen Size Over Keyboard

This was yes and no really.  Screen size is definitely an area we got most requests for.  3.5″ just isn’t cutting it any longer for most people.  The Numeric keypad was also not quite as popular as we saw in previous years, with PDA and small formats growing in popularity.  Small but with a big screen is definitely a trend we saw growing.

10.  Project and Solution Rollout

We certainly dealt with more, larger rollouts last year with some big global companies who were all about good solid rollout strategies and minimising risk and downtime once running.  Maybe more of a position here than a trend though, but we did find it easier to sell the service and “up-time” concept than we did in 2010 proving that mobile is now the cornerstone and not the plaything of more and more businesses.

What we missed.

The rise of the cheap Barcode Scanner –  The £30-50 barcode scanner was certainly the area of growth with both Intermec and Motorola being forced to join in the cheaper CCD side of things too.

The rise of the Tablet – Although we’ll see more rugged tablets this year, the rise of the tablet last year was evident for all to see!

Let us know if there was anything you saw that we missed too, just add a comment and lets talk about them right here!

Tomorrow we’ll look at the trends of 2012 we’re likely to see.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.