Posted 30th November 2011

The future of mobile operating systems for rugged devices

Historically, Tabs FM have always developed mobile software for Windows Mobile devices. The driving force behind this approach is that Microsoft is often the selected Operating System of rugged and barcode scanning devices. But will this always be the case? Forever in discussions with providers of rugged handhelds, it appears that the chink in Windows Mobile armour is gradually getting bigger…especially with the recent launch of Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone 7 is viewed as a consumer based product and with good reason. Not only is the development platform not as flexible as previous versions, but the OS itself is typically delivered across a range a smartphones, perhaps reinforcing the consumer focused approach.

Apple and Blackberry also offer a great range of consumer devices which can often tempt facilities and service providers to look towards these devices. But in reality, are these devices a wise choice for Facilities departments and service providers after considering two common questions:

After considering these questions, available devices are heavily restricted. Of course, with the correct software consumer devices can use the camera as a means of scanning assets, and you could invest in rugged cases for the devices, but practically speaking is they the best fit solution?

After lengthy discussions with hardware manufacturers and suppliers, it is suggested that Windows Phone 7 will not be the next step in mobile OS. It is unlikely that Apple or Blackberrys OS will be used either. This leaves Android as the most logical choice for rugged devices, or Windows Phone 8 once its released.

Pidion (http://www.mypidion.com/) offer an excellent range of rugged devices and have already released Android based versions on both their BIP6000 and BM170. Therefore, could Android be future mobile operating system for rugged devices for use within the facilities and service management industry? Early indications seem to support this and Tabs FM have already begun investigations and development on a range of alternative mobile OS’s, to continue to provide clients and the industry with leading mobile technology for field engineers.


... more than just software