Historically, the mobile device and AIDC market has typically been dominated by Windows®. However, in recent years there has been an increasing demand by end-users and developers alike to move on to the Android operating system for their mobile computers. This may be due in part to the uncertainty about Microsoft’s long-term plans in the embedded space and seeing no clear path with Windows moving forward beyond Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.
Android was the perfect solution at the perfect time and rocketed up the smartphone market-share list. Shortly thereafter, demand for enterprise-ready applications grew due to its popularity in the smartphone market and it’s becoming more and more relevant now in the AIDC market because of this familiarity.
There are many software vendors in the industrial space who now support Android mobile devices, including all the major WMS providers. The user experience with Android translates well from tablets and phones to mobile computers and other data collection devices. The Android operating system is also more optimized for touch applications that are becoming more and more popular.
“Android was the perfect solution at the perfect time”
Many end-users are sampling consumer-based devices in their operations because of the familiarity of the user experience. However, businesses are finding that these consumer devices with their add-on accessories are falling short on delivering the ability to handle the needed tasks. First of all, the consumer devices aren’t built for all-day every-day usage and are definitely not designed to be dropped or abused. This is where the “built for purpose” mobile computers fill the void. Dedicated Android mobile computers and fixed mount computers are able to handle the more rugged environments and still offer the familiar user interface and capabilities as those consumer devices.
Yet another reason why Android is becoming more preferred is the cost advantage. Since Android is an open source operating system, there is no need to buy expensive licenses that add to the cost of the product. Because it is open-source, developers and IT professionals have a whole community to assist and trouble-shoot issues without having to pay for support.
End-users and application developers have both been looking for a reasonable alternative to the legacy Windows platforms and it looks like Android is taking over the space and is here to stay.