Microsoft itself is offering very little guidance on the
issue, with no clear message on its website and no public
marketing position. Asked about its strategy for support-
ing users of enterprise mobile devices after it ends support
for the two legacy operating systems, a Microsoft spokes-
man said the company was unable to provide further
operating system, the transition will leave warehouses with
smarter, faster handhelds that can both improve security
and enable a more connected work force.
THREE OPTIONS FOR UPGRADING
For operations that elect to upgrade to a new OS, the
obvious question is which one to go with. In this regard,
warehouses have three main options.
One possibility is to stick with Microsoft, which has developed a new OS called Windows 10 Io T to meet demand for
next-generation devices. However, while Windows 10 has
been well received for use on laptops and other personal
computers, its adoption in the rugged handheld sector is
very slow, according to Zebra.
A second choice is to switch over to Apple’s iOS platform, but that option is also attracting very few users in
enterprise applications, Zebra said. As for why Cupertino,
Calif.-based Apple has failed to capture a significant slice
of the rugged mobile handheld market, it’s partly because
of the company’s exclusive focus on non-ruggedized consumer electronics—such as its popular iPhone and iPad
devices—and partly because of Apple’s insistence on acting
as the sole supplier of hardware devices for its own operating system.
“We do have tablets and small handhelds available now
on Windows 10 IoT for field mobility applications,” said
Mark Wheeler, director of supply chain solutions at Zebra
Technologies. “But inside the four walls [of the ware-
house], we’re not seeing customer demand for Windows.”
That leaves option number three—Google Inc.’s Android
operating system. By all accounts, this is emerging as the
leading option for warehouses looking for the next plat-
form for their handheld devices. “Momentum has definitely
shifted toward Android as a clear favorite to replace devices
running legacy Windows operating systems,” Zebra’s book
Google, a division of Mountain View, Calif.-based
Alphabet Inc., appears to be up to the challenge, riding
a rising swell of interest among users who have adopted
Android in various sectors. The Android OS was used in
80 percent of all smartphones worldwide and in 37 percent
of rugged devices in 2016, the latter up from 24 percent the
year before, according to a report from VDC Research.
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