Time to consider Android as Microsoft support comes to end?
20 November 2019
Have you made the switch to the Android operating system for your mobile devices? Time is running out says Renovotec managing director Richard Gilliard.
It is easy for an industry to continue with the tried and tested technology that it knows and in which it has invested; but sometimes a false sense of security makes it possible to be overtaken by events. As of today we know that more than seven in ten (70%) of all UK warehousing and logistics operations have still to make the transition to the more modern Android mobile operating environment – meaning that only three in ten have made or are planning to make the move to Android. In contrast, our research indicates that more than 90% of mobile, handheld devices procured by field service industry users are shipping pre-loaded with the Android operating system.
Many warehousing and logistics companies would say that they do not need to make the change as their (typically) Windows handheld devices are fully supported by Microsoft: but that support is scheduled to end in Q1 2020, at which time those many handhelds will reach end of life. This is nothing less than a red line moment.
Some of the user hesitancy over Android has been attributed to the allegedly less rugged nature of many Android handhelds when compared to their non-Android equivalents. It is true that in future handheld devices are likely to be swapped more often, but that shorter life is not true for all Android devices: for example one Honeywell mobile device is supported by the manufacturer for nine years, which is a strong indicator of its longevity. Also, changing mobile computers and other Android devices more often will help users keep up to speed with the latest and best-performing technology, while those wanting to avoid more frequent purchases always have the option to rent their hardware.
Why are companies holding back?
The Warehouse is still viewed by many organisations as something of a Cinderella: it may be an essential function but it is not a customer-facing area of the company. Industry users also assume that a move to Android also requires the purchase of a new and costly WMS - but it does not.
Many ‘green screen’ warehouse environments use terminal emulators that make the transition to Android using specialised toolsets quick and simple, for most. As is so often the case, the IT industry has developed tools that speed and facilitate the transition from one generation to the next: supply chain consultants such as Renovotec are now helping users make the move to Android, where they can benefit from a more modern performance-driven environment.
A better experience
Once transitioned, a green screen environment converted to an Android look and feel provides a generally better user experience. Younger warehouse operatives tend to embrace it intuitively, others find it easier with a little training, and overall warehouse performance is improved as a result.
Operational performance is also improved by the concomitant introduction of the many new, Android-platform devices that are coming onto the market: these have faster-performing chip sets and better, camera-(not mirror) –based scanners.