Rugged PDA activity has been vibrant, despite the downturn (or reset) as I like to call it and with 2010 drawing to a close I wanted to share some of my opinion and thoughts on what 2011 will hold for the Rugged PDA market.  Here’s my top 10.

1.  Reduced Big Brand Loyalty

People have quite rightfully lost big brand trust.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a bank, car manufacturer or a Rugged PDA supplier, people feel cheated by the big established brands causing the recession and taking their jobs and people are looking for a change.  There’s a lot of very very good emerging brands out there, that we’re seeing people try to love and this trend will gain momentum through 2011.

2.  Shift to Fully Rugged

As mobile solutions, become simply “The” solutions, people have realised that they need something dependable to build their mobile solution on.  Smartphones are like building your platform on PC’s, Rugged PDA’s are like building it on Servers and all but the most budget conscious have realised this now.  We’ll see steady but strong market capture by Rugged PDA’s in the enterprise mobile solution space.

3.  Semi Rugged

Having said that, there are plenty of people out there who are looking for a jack of all trades, or want a rugged PDA but simply do not have the budget.  Step in the Semi-Rugged PDA with PDA’s like the BM170 from Pidion remaining strong we’ll see strong growth and new devices here in 2011.

4.  Reseller Expertise and the birth of Rugged PDA Brand Advocacy

Brand advocacy has arrived and customers will be looking for the advocates that can give them good, impartial and broad advice.  Manufacturers will be unable to do this, simply not having the experience or motivation to know about rival devices and implementations and the Knowledge driven Rugged PDA Reseller will form the backbone of the market place.  It’s not enough however to just “know” your stuff.  It will be the Resellers who freely share their knowledge who will win.

5.  Cradle to Cradle use of Rugged PDA – Convergence of applications

Cradle to cradle as it is being coined is about a shift from the “buy it cheap and throw it away” culture to the environmentally friendly reusable culture of tomorrow.  The Rugged PDA is perfectly positioned to be the central device that will run your whole suite of solutions.  As we have seen convergence of hardware like Cameras, GPS, Scanners and Phones, we’ll see convergence of the solutions that run on these, removing things like dedicated tracking hardware and various other data capture hardware from customers solutions.

6.  Rugged PDA Healthcheck

We’re already seeing accessory interest from accessory makers and as the Rugged PDA become more popular and central to the way we will work but the Rugged PDA heal will be key to maintaining a good solution.  Device management and device health and habit reporting will grow to align with these increasing needs.

7.  Mobile Phone and Rugged Split will widen

With Windows Phone 7 being a completely different product to Windows Mobile (and let me tell you its a pig to develop at the moment) and with Microsoft committing to a “Rugged OS” of some nature, our vision of one OS across your platform will fade and we’ll see Rugged PDA’s sticking with an open, developer friendly device meant for business, with the Enterprise phones being clever, innovative, iPhone-like but flaky!

8.  Threat of rival Operating Systems

We saw 3 rugged PDA’s certified with Google Android this year and we’ll see more as Droid seizes the opportunity to give customers 1 OS across their whole business.  We could see Microsoft’s grip weaken making life great for customers but hard for resellers and suppliers as they strive to clue up on more kit.  See point 4 again!!

9.  Screen size over Keyboard

Software will remain key to the mobile platform, as will gloves, Signature capture and lost stylus’ will to the industry.  Larger screens will be seen, following suit with the Smartphone market and the PDA and Numeric keyboard will be the mainstay.  We’ll see small screen, qwerty keyboard devices struggle to cope with the demands of mobile software innovation.

10.  Projects Increase

We’ll see customers wanting to run project based rollouts instead of buying “phones” where the Rugged PDA reseller will be cornerstone f the project and the gatekeeper to many other technologies including network, data, and cloud based services.  As trust builds up with the right Resellers we’ll see adoption of products from them become the standard.  People are looking for 1 person they can trust, price pressure will ease in favour of expertise and the successful projects will use a trusted mix of reseller solutions not a plethora of bits and bobs from multiple suppliers.

There it is, straight from the resellers mouth, some it I hope turns out true, some of it I don’t but what I do know is that 2011 will be a great year for the Rugged market and its customers.

Come talk to me if you want to chat more about anything Rugged!


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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