Vehicle-Mounted Computers and Windows CE End of Life: 3 Tips for Transitioning to Android
Forklifts and vehicle-mounted computers are essential tools in the day to-day workflows of warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers. These computers have traditionally used the Windows CE operating system, but that is about to change. Windows CE will reach the end of extended support in April of 2021.
Microsoft has also announced it is ending support for Windows 10 Mobile, which further complicates things for companies that had planned to maintain a Windows environment. While Windows 10 is still available for tablet computers, most other form factors (handhelds, wearables, etc.) are shifting to Android. These companies could potentially be left with a more complex, mixed-OS environment that presents IT management and deployment challenges.
Eventually, most warehouses and DCs will be faced with the inevitable – transitioning to the Android operating system for their vehicle-mount computers. Here are three tips to consider when transitioning to Android:
- Not All Platforms Are Created Equal
Are you looking for cost-effective Android migration? You’ll need to spend time researching the best platforms for your application. One of the reasons why transitioning to Android can be difficult is the multitude of available form factors, each of which will need applications developed, tested, and certified.
Platforms like Honeywell Mobility Edge can make this transition easier, with less risk and less cost. From an IT perspective, devices built on Mobility Edge are identical. Users can choose the best form factor, and then develop, test, and certify apps once for all of their hardware.
- A New OS Doesn’t Have to Mean Decreased Productivity
By working with a hardware vendor that has developed a strategic transition plan for moving customers from Windows to Android, manufacturers and warehouse operators can reduce the disruption typically associated with deploying a new solution.
Honeywell’s next generation vehicle-mounted computer, the Thor VM1A (replacing its Windows predecessor, the VM1) is equipped with Smart TE (terminal emulation), allowing experienced workers to stay productive with legacy TE while newer and temp workers can get quickly up to speed with a graphical touch interface.
- Know the Total Cost of Ownership
When transitioning to Android, take time to know what costs can be expected beyond the initial investment in new hardware. The total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile devices can far exceed the initial investment in hardware. That’s why it’s important to find reliable equipment.
Routine maintenance costs can have a significant impact on TCO. How easy or fast will it be to replace damaged parts? How much downtime will maintenance/damage cost your operation?
Look for products that offer backwards-compatible accessories like docks, mounts and keyboards, scanners, etc., to minimize your upfront investment. For example, Honeywell offers a backward-compatible Smart Dock that allows users to move computers between forklifts as workloads change, without touching the cables. Users that purchased Honeywell Windows-based VM1 vehicle-mount computers can use the same docks with the Android-based VM1A.
Selecting a platform that supports a variety of form factors using the Android operating system can simplify deployment and help future-proof your investments as you make the transition from Windows-based rugged mobile computers to Android. Miles Data can help transition your vehicle-mounted computers to Android cost-effectively with the Honeywell Mobility Edge Platform and the Thor VM1A Vehicle Mount Computer. Miles Data has VM1A demo units available for evaluation now – contact us for more information.