Why Not All The Rugged Android Devices Will Survive

Why Not All The Rugged Android Devices Will Survive

Why Not All The Rugged Android Devices Will Survive
Rugged Android Devices – Spot the Difference

Looking at the plethora of me too rugged Android devices launched in 2014 reminds me of the early days of the PC industry.

For you younger readers this was a time when a company called IBM invented a device called a personal computer with some help from a chap called Bill Gates.

 

 

In the early days IBM was the only manufacturer but they were soon joined by Compaq Dell and others who created a clone market of product that was literally described as “IBM compatible”

Then came a deluge of “manufacturers” joining the fray. In the UK companies like Apricot Tiny Time Evesham Packard Bell and a very long list of others were all very active. They focused on shifting product in an attempt to grow very quickly whilst stealing market share from the major players.

They discovered that using price as the major differentiator meant that profitable growth was elusive. This was not a great place to be especially when trying to sell to a fickle public through the medium of retail.

Over a period of time these companies consolidated tried to re-invent themselves or disappeared altogether.

Lessons for Enterprise Mobility?

Traditionally our niche handheld market has been dominated by hardware and apps optimised to run on one operating platform – Windows Mobile.

What has surprised many is the speed at which smartphone users have abandoned previously held truths. The demise of Backberry and Nokia has serious lessons for the box shifters in the enterprise space. We have seen huge movement over the last 18 months from users asking for systems to be deployed on Android or iOS.  Motivations include being able to access a different buying economic a much broader range of product and to open the door for BYOD. The killer being once people stop developing on your platform look out.

Many buyers are now used to the norm of a 24 month contract and replacement cycle for mobile devices. So a traditional high initial price with 5 year TCO and multi year repair cycle just does not suit them.

Innovate and Keep up or its Curtains

Tim Cook Apple CEO said earlier this year that he did not see the market for high end smartphones becoming saturated any time soon. That makes sense for him as Apple is the aspirational brand. So like BMW Dyson and John Lewis it does not need to compete just on price.

The same is broadly true in the Enterprise sector where super size major clients having a relationship with a scale vendor makes a lot of sense. But in these cases the manufacturer will only stay competitive by continuing to eliminate channel content and reducing margin to compete with all the alternatives.

So for manufacturers with a history in Enterprise Mobility introducing rugged Android devices is a great idea, right? ….

….sort of, Recent history would lead us to conclude that not all these vendors brands and products will prove innovative enough to survive the onslaught of low cost brands from China. Trying to remain profitable in their current form may lead to another flurry of reorganization and M&A.

Why this is different

Once all the rugged Android clones and new entrants have beaten each other up on price for long enough we are likely to end up with a small number of main players. The others will struggle and find they lack the fire power to survive at the high end whilst carrying costs that are too high to re-cast themselves as a a low cost vendor.

The twist may well be that over a period of 2-4 years the dominant vendors may not be the companies or brands we are used to being on top of the Enterprise Mobility sector. They are likely to include brands we currently think of as “consumer” or do not even know yet.

The advent of Android as the OS of choice and the changing nature of procurement and app design are real game changers which may well leave some our largest well known plaqyers scrambling to adapt.

Why Not All The Rugged Android Devices Will Survive

Get in touch to book a webinar or visit to see how we can help you make the most of your enterprise mobility project on Android.

 

 

Know Your AMPS From Your VESA Hole Patterns

Know Your AMPS From Your VESA Hole Patterns

If your enterprise mobility deployment involves the use of devices in vehicles it is a great idea to provide the user with a properly installed vehicle cradle.

We have a whole range of mounting solutions for traditional rugged tablets, Microsoft Surface, handhelds and printers. For implementation in a variety of situations. Some enterprise mobility device manufacturers such as MobileDemand do a good job of designing their own cradles including innovations like the Snap Mount.

Physically installing the cradle and making sure it is safe electrically and in use is the subject of a further post. Before you get that far you will need to consider how to attach the cradle to the vehicle itself.  This is where it becomes useful to know your VESA from your AMPS hole patterns

VESA What is it?

The good news is that the VESA standard is used almost exclusively for mounting flat screen televisions and PC monitors. Typically hole patterns for flat panel displays can be any of the following.

  • 75 mm x 75 mm
  • 100 mm x 100 mm
  • 200 mm x 200 mm
  • 400 mm x 400 mm

The bigger the screen the beefier the bracket needed.

 

AMPS What is it?

Know Your AMPS From Your VESA Hole PatternsThe AMPS hole pattern is also an industry standard configuration. It consists of four holes located in a rectangular pattern spaced at 30.17 mm by 46.05 mm. It is common for the AMPS pattern to consist of multiple holes to allow vertical or horizontal implementation. For hand held and tablet sized devices the vast majority of cradles and brackets such as the RAM Mount System will use the AMPS hole pattern.

 

This video from GPSCity.ca describes the AMPS hole pattern perfectly.

 

Know Your AMPS From Your VESA Hole PatternsKnow Your AMPS From Your VESA Hole Patterns

AMPS VESA some more of the alphabet soup we can help you with as you complete your enterprise mobility project. Get in touch if you need further help.

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC
Multiple Battery Chargers are Very Practical

You now have the perfect rugged handheld  or rugged tablet pc and a great app from MobileWorxs and you venture off into the field. But how long will the battery last and how can you ensure it will stay charged? Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC is a real consideration for an enterprise mobile deployment.

Not surprisingly battery life of any unit varies depending how long the device is used for in total. If a device has no rest period and is in constant use with scanning 3G or Wi-Fi then expect the battery life to be limited. Compared to a user who uses a device for 20 minutes at a time on site and places the device on standby during travelling, his device would last all day.  Lithium Ion batteries power most rugged handheld and tablet PC devices, and yes they do wear out so budget for new ones after about 2 years.

If device usage is going to be high the first consideration is to opt for high capacity batteries which are not hugely expensive. This can add half again to standard battery life. The next pointer does the unit accept dual batteries? This means a device has 2 batteries which can be separately changed while the device is turned on. When one battery is low the other is in use. It also means your unsaved work isn’t lost as with a hot swap feature there is no need to power down to swap a battery.

Be assured that even units with a single battery do have small internal backup batteries for saving apps and system settings just like a phone.

Charging Options – On Desk

Most rugged devices have accessories for office charging. These can be:

Docks/cradles which may have extra slots to charge spare batteries as well as ports for connecting USB serial devices and external screens.

Or just plain battery chargers. Depending how many devices and therefore batteries you intend to deploy a multi battery charger may be an option worth investigating. Also be sure to figure out where these desk docks or chargers are going to go. Space can be tight in many back of store retail or depot offices so putting up some dedicated racking and installing power sockets will help keep the whole thing looking like some thought has gone into the deployment.

Charging Options – In Vehicle

Vehicle chargers, have the ability to charge a unit in a vehicle on the move. The power source can generally be wired into the vehicle mains or through a cigarette lighter adaptor. There are a number of varying ruggedized vehicle docks, which some can cope with many more device cycles. Again these docks have additional ports allowing for a GPS unit for tracking, or connecting to a external WWAN stick.

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC
A Vehicle Cradle Can Aid Driver Productivity

If a device is operating apps such as Sat Nav then charging is a must. It is also a requirement in most countries to have the device permanently fixed whilst the vehicle is in motion.

 

 

 

The cost of a vehicle dock can sometimes seem expensive, but no where near as much as a new unit, or repair especially if the device ends up being thrown in the foot well after each use !

Otherwise is in vehicle charging required? Just carry a spare battery? This is a cheaper option if your charging dock has a space for a spare battery to be charged simultaneously.

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC – Key Points

  1. If your device will see 6-8+ hours constant use then additional battery capacity  should be a high consideration.
  2. Bear in mind that in many cases chargers docks and cradles are often not compatible across products – even from the same manufacturer. Strange but true !

We can help you navigate your way through this and many other snags that may arise during your enterprise mobility project.

 

 

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Seven Key Enterprise Mobility IT Trends for 2013

Seven Key Enterprise Mobility IT Trends for 2013

Seven Key Enterprise Mobility IT Trends for 2013

It’s that time of year again when industry pundits stick their neck out and predict what IT trends will be hot in the next twelve months. Our footprint is mobile computing in business so our seven key enterprise mobility IT trends for 2013 are a tad more prosaic than 3D printing foldable screens and High Def smart televisions. But this stuff is important as trying to balance the never ending march of technology with achieving a return on investment is where the rubber meets the road for a mobile deployment.

1. Mobility in the Enterprise

To paraphrase Bill Clinton “It’s Mobile, Stupid..” Smart companies in the enterprise have been enjoying the productivity benefits of enterprise mobility for years and many of them are on their second or third refresh. However not many expected the explosion of mobility driven apps that have come from the huge adoption of smart phones and the rise of Android and iOS.  In some cases employees are now more mobile savvy than their IT departments.

The message for Finance Operations and IT leaders in any industry vertical is simple, get with it or lose out to competitors who adopt enterprise mobility apps to streamline remote worker processes improve productivity and reduce admin cycle times.  We don’t expect all the new adopters to adopt a strategic to this but we can hope…

2. More, Not Less Hardware Choices

The rugged hardware device industry long tail will continue. Motorola and Honeywell have acquired companies to maintain their volume position in the enterprise mobility market. But a never ending supply of no name white label handheld and tablet devices will come out of China and Taiwan offering lower price points and non-conventional ways to market. Expect the products and service offerings to become better.

3. Security and Mobile Device Management

According to a report issued by Dark Reading 47 percent of enterprises are predicting a bigger budget for security in 2013.  This has become a key area so expect Mobile Device Management MDM products such as Soti and ways of securing the apps infrastructure to mop up more IT spend.

4. Integration

Will simply become more important than ever. More mobile apps means more integration with existing ERP CRM and decision management systems.

5. Mobile Payments

In the consumer space 2013 may well be the year that consumers in stores start using the mobile wallet and contact less payment seriously.

Products such as Square that enable payments for Android and iOS and the Motorola MPM-100 will allow payment to be transacted at the point of delivery rather than at the end of an invoice paper chase. Expect this to enable more field based customer service activities in many applications such as retail dining home delivery and field service areas such as pest control.

6. Multiple OS Platform Support

Windows .NET is not going away just yet but the advance of Android and iOS into the enterprise space will compel solution providers to support apps on various platforms. Expect the Native Vs Web app debate to become more partisan in tone.

“I see an accelerated entry of Android into the marketplace, especially among companies who are integrating “hard” and “soft” workforces and deploying BYOD solutions”  Said Michael Forbes, Vice President of Marketing at axxun

7. The Cloud means BYOD right ?

Well maybe… Enterprises must come to terms with the fact that according to Forrester in excess of 66% of employees bring two devices to work. For Bring Your Own Device to work the need to separate private and business data will become…interesting.

Even if BYOD is not the approach of choice more enterprises are adopting some sort of cloud computing which means the prospect of an app being hosted outside the traditional in house network and paid for on a per use basis vs a perpetual model may well start to become the norm in 2013.

The Wildcards

Our seven key enterprise mobility IT trends for 2013 are factors we can already see at work. Both of our wildcards have generated a lot of press lately but are perhaps just over the horizon in terms of impact this year for enterprise mobility.

4G LTE

For sure more agile feature rich apps to increase data capture of  images videos and telemetry would be a great addition in many circumstances. How relevant this is to the typical enterprise mobility deployment will depend in part on the availability of a network and devices to exploit a super fast connection. Expect buyers to want to future-proof devices by specifying 4G LTE this year even if they don’t actually use it.

Ubuntu

Although the OS has been around a while the Ubuntu phone is a as Simon Phipps explains an intriguing addition to the mobility landscape.  It supports HTML5 so provides an alternative platform for existing web apps rather than creating another “native” approach.

We can help you wade through the options with your Enterprise Mobility project.

 

 

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