I have to be honest and say that I’ve been reading this series of blogs on Rugged Android PDA’s and Tablets with great interest and a sprinkling of naivety myself and being asked to conclude it with a few thoughts on where the heck this market is leading us has had me thinking all week.
We’ve of course been talking and researching everything we can the past few months on Android, as well as being heavily involved with some manufacturers, helping guide their new products and Android strategy. The fact is the wood is rapidly becoming thicker for the trees and customers are going to need help to select the right kit in this ever-growing long tail of Android devices we are faced with.
So what do you do if your Management has tasked you with selecting a device that is going to meet your business needs? I think the choices can be broken down into 4 main categories:
It still dwarfs our little rugged market and smartphones will always remain on the forefront of technology, functionality and design. They’re the Ferrari’s of the Mobile market and as such, everyone will always want a Samsung Galaxy but like a Ferrari, drive it to work every day and it’ll spend most of its time in the garage! Smartphones will drive the technology, it’ll be where the Microsoft, Android, Apple fight will focus but for business they will remain the wrong choice.
Rugged Android PDA’s!
OK, so lest swing right back over to fully rugged devices where we’ve already shown there are now a healthy number of devices on the market that are from rugged companies touting new Android versions of their devices to us. Don’t forget these devices are fully rugged, tough, roadmapped, repairable, parts rich for years after the end of their lives and have full SDK’s, persistent storage areas and all kinds of great stuff for business
Rugged Android Tablets
This has been the big driver in the rugged market and I think the big growth will be in the 5-7″ tablet devices with Android on them. Watch this space, we’re about to do some wonderful work here! Tablets are where we see the most questions now and we’re about to get rugged tablets at very reasonable prices.
Rugged Android Smartphones
The last category is a new one for us and I think we’re seeing a lot of people who want nothing special in terms of its ruggedness but they just want a durable smart phone. What do all these smartphone junkies want? An Android, just like their own phone! We’ve seen a degree of success in with semi-rugged PDA’s where the Pidion BM170 has done it honestly and works well for the right customer but we’ve also seen how the Motorola ES400 has done this poorly (in my humble view!). So tough, fully rugged Smartphones are a category I think will grow as long as right rugged partners adopt them, run the right services around them and of course keep their expertise and knowledge up to spec on them.
The touch point for all sales is the trusty reseller and it’s going to be so vitally important customers have someone who can help them through the ever dense forest of devices. I truly think we’ll see some simply add every new product to their range, blindly and with less and less knowledge, probably driving the market to the bottom on price. But the real decent resellers will have the guts to cut their range, even cut loose some big brands in an effort to stay excellent and drive a real customer, employee and innovation focus.
Exciting times were always ahead, Android just made them arrive quicker!
Dave, Rugged and mobile Ltd