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Finally the Tide of Rugged Android Devices Begins

by Kevin Benedict

July 26, 2012

In my opinion, Microsoft blew it when they left the rugged mobile device manufacturers hanging for years with no meaningful upgrades or upgrade path to the Windows Mobile 6.5x operating system.  They sentenced the ruggedized device industry to compete against the iPhone, iPad and Android consumer devices.  This meant service organizations worldwide started considering the merits of switching to consumer devices, with new operating systems that had many more features rather than upgrading to new ruggedized mobile devices. 

Otterbox and other rugged case manufacturers were definitely the winners of this Microsoft orchestrated industry trend.  They produced many great ruggedized cases that added device protection and gave buyers confidence that using consumer devices in rugged environments was worth the risk.

Today, however, the tide of rugged Android devices is starting to enter the market as demonstrated by this marketing piece from Honeywell that I received in the mail today announcing the new rugged Dolphin 7800 EDA running on Android.  Here is how they describe it, "Honeywell’s new Dolphin® 7800 Android™ rugged EDA pairs the intuitive Google® Android™ operating system with remote device management capabilities and invaluable security features, making the device enterprise ready."

For a time the Android operating system was difficult to secure, since every device and device manuf acturer seemed to have their own version of it, but the MDM (mobile device management) or MAM (mobile application management) vendors have seemed to resolve much of that challenge now as this piece from the MDM/MAM vendor Soti suggests, "SOTI, a leader in cross-platform mobile device management, is announcing that its unique MDM solution provides advanced and consistent management for all Android devices, regardless of the device manufacturer."

I have spoken with and interviewed many rugged handheld manufacturers over the past few months and most if not all have rugged Android devices in development.  I believe that going forward service organizations will soon be able to get the latest Android operating system features in the rugged device of their choosing.

Kevin Benedict, Mobile Industry Analyst, Mobile Strategy Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the SAP Enterprise Mobility and Sybase Unwired Platform Groups
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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