That is often how big enterprise mobility projects work in the world of rugged and industrial grade mobile and handheld computers. This is a world foreign to many people familiar only with the consumer mobility space where new mobile apps are released daily, handsets and smartphones are released weekly and new versions of mobile operating systems are released quarterly.
In this industrial world of concrete and rivets, dust and rain $2,000 rugged handhelds must last 4-6 years, not months. That means tens of thousands of companies and millions of industrial users are still using ruggedized handheld computers and mobile devices that may be 6 years old. These are generally running on Windows Mobile operating systems. These ruggedized mobile devices are ancient compared to the iPhone in their pocket and iPad on their desk.
These ancient mobile devices still function, but have been until now limited to only running old versions of software that are still capable of running on old versions of Windows Mobile. That means entire industries are missing the mobility revolution and all the powerful news mobile applications and innovations that have been delivered over the last few years. This is not a good position to be in. These users have hit reached a dead end with their mobile technology and have missed the entire wave of mobile web based innovations, that is until now.
Earlier this month Intermec announced, http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120925005237/en/Intermec-Offers-Industry’s-Flexible-HTML5-Capable-Browser, a new HTML5 browser that runs on old Windows Mobile devices. This is HUGE news! If you can now use new HTML5 based mobile applications on ruggedized mobile dinosaurs, then you have jumped one of the biggest hurdles that exist in the industrial mobility industry. Here is an excerpt from Intermec’s announcement, “Intermec’s HTML5 offering includes a true web browser application, based on WebKitTM, for multiple models of Intermec’s handheld computers for Windows® Mobile and Windows Embedded operating systems.”
Here is another excerpt from Intermec’s press release, note the references to the words – modern, latest, extends and future proofing, ““Intermec’s new HTML5-capable browser offers enterprises the flexibility to equip their mobile workers with a modern user interface and latest business logic, along with the right device for their specific working conditions and usage demands,” said Earl Thompson, Intermec Senior Vice President, Mobile Solutions Business Unit. “Offering much more than the next iteration of web language, Intermec’s HTML5 offering extends the Web paradigm to a whole new class of future-proofed applications by allowing for them to be developed and deployed cross-platform.”
This news means that there is now hope for millions of Intermec users which Microsoft had left behind several years ago, dead-ended on old Windows Mobile operating systems. Today, they have the potential of leap frogging ahead and using innovative HTML5 based mobile apps on their same old ruggedized devices.
The term I am using, old ruggedized mobile devices, does not mean they don’t have real and important value. They may be perfect for the tasks they do. However, today, with this announcement, their ROI and value may have just jumped considerably. I am excited to hear what ClickSoftware’s Gil Bouhnick’s says when he reviews Intermec’s browser and HTML5 capabilities.
Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for SMAC, CognizantRead The Future of Work
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Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.