THE ANDROID REVOLUTION!
If you are a business that has traditionally used Windows Embedded on your handheld mobile computers, hopefully you have begun to develop a migration plan towards Android before Microsoft ends all support for the legacy Windows OS!
Over the next couple of years, companies using handheld devices, will move from Windows to Android in one of the biggest industry platform shifts we have seen. Windows Mobile OS account for around $5 billion of enterprise application investments worldwide. By the time Windows Embedded 6.5 reaches the end of support in 2020, 77% of the enterprise devices shipping today will no longer be supported.
Below is a quick overview of what you need to be planning towards, and here at Total Barcodes we are well positioned to assist, having migrated numerous customers away from Windows to Android based devices, working closely with our software partners.
"End of Support" means that Microsoft will stop issuing security patches and software updates. Any company still running Windows software on their devices will be left with no easy solution to defend their system from viruses, fix software bugs, or add new apps. As a result, developers and device manufacturers need to rewrite their apps for a new OS before the deadlines. This is extremely critical for devices that are used in regulated environments. The scheduled “End of Support” dates are below
10th April 2018 – Windows Embedded CE 6.0 will be End of Life
9th July 2019 – Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld will be End of Life
14th January 2020 – Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 will be End of Life
**In 2021 Microsoft is ending support for Windows Embedded 7**
We have been handling customer’s requests and already implemented a number of migrations through 2018 and at the start of 2019. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions and some things to consider which we feel will help you:
What are the first steps we need to take?
We would advise you to firstly focus on your workflows and mobile computing & application requirements. It is a good time to assess your applications, look at what can be improved and then we can help to familiarise you with the latest innovations and devices. We would also advise that you define a budget to cover all of your related costs and it pays to work with a good technology partner with proven Android migration experience. We work with 2 software partners with this experience and their work in this area is fantastic.
Which devices would you recommend we move to?
This is completely up to you, and what your budgets are. We favour Zebra devices, they are the market leader and we have had great success with them. Zebra have a device in each price bracket, from entry level, to premium performance. They range in form factor from PDA’s to the well known ‘brick’ and ‘pistol grip’ devices. We would look at what you currently use, and offer the natural replacement for that, for example, legacy MC9090/MC9190 customers have favoured moving to the MC9200, and MC55 customers have been looking towards the TC70’s – but whilst analysing your migration requirements, you may look towards something a little different. We can assist here with loan devices for you to test and see what you would prefer.
Will we need to redevelop all of our applications?
Most probably! Unless your apps are already Android compatible, rewriting them is your only option. Even if your apps are Android compatible, you will still need to migrate them – which may require some re-configuration. Fortunately, app redevelopment for Android is greatly simplified thanks to Android’s open architecture.
Is there anything else we need to consider?
Yes, you will need to consider the time needed to test the new applications and databases, so allow enough time to do this. If you were to work with Total Barcodes and one of our software partners, we will continuously provide updates and modules to test, as well as help with the deployment and training for your team. However, with Android, this training is extremely simple as the user interface is highlight intuitive and easy to use. Also, many workers are familiar with the OS already and may have it on their smartphones and tablets.
I am from a Windows background and worry about developing for Android, is it easy to change?
The best way to answer this is with some comments from one of our key software partners….”our reluctance was mainly due to the learning curve for developing for Android coming from a Microsoft .net background. The game changer was when Microsoft added Xamarin development for Android to their latest Visual Studio. It was then less of a leap into the dark to develop for Android. The main advantage over Windows CE/Mobile therefore is that its future proofed with regards to development whereas Windows CE/Mobile is now legacy and requires older tools that are coming to end of life. Also, the android OS offers a better and more modern user experience on rugged devices that people are used to as it’s the same as they may run on their personal android smartphones and tablets.”
Ultimately, change is hard. It is easy to stand still and delay making changes, but with end of support dates looming, Android Migration is something that will need to be dealt with eventually. As stated, we are working closely with Zebra and experienced software partners to ensure a smooth transition when you are ready. VDC Research recently stated that “Windows is a dead-end for mobile computers supporting warehouse applications”, so embrace the shift, and call Total Barcodes to start the process with a company that has experience in this migration.
Please call the Total Barcodes team on 01482 534756, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire further about this product