Windows or Android? It depends on the need
Windows or Android? It depends on the need
For many Enterprises, Microsoft Windows has been the dominant operating system on their mobile computing devices, but I am increasingly being asked about the benefits of Android in business and whether organisations should consider switching. For me, the answer is never straightforward. You can’t say that one operating system is better than another for your handhelds or tablets, it all comes down to the particular business need. Depending on your requirements, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
The case for Android
Android was originally developed for consumer devices, so it’s incredibly intuitive to use and many users are already familiar with the system because they use it on their personal Android smartphone.
I believe Android works best on enterprise handhelds or tablets where users only need a handful of applications and where data and those applications can be cloud-based. In addition, Android comes into its own when the user is mainly using the device for content consumption – rather than content creation.
One of the great advantages of Android is that it can be deployed in different modes on the device. User mode – where the user only sees the apps they need and Kiosk Mode – where the user immediately enters the app they constantly use, for example, a fast food ordering application. These types of mode simplify use of the device and help to protect it against any security risks that users might inadvertently cause. These modes are particularly useful for organisations running device schemes, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Company Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) and Corporate Owned Single Use (COSU).
Another great advantage of Android is that it is optimised for use on a mobile device, meaning battery life is long, enabling workers to use the device for an entire shift without having to worry about swapping batteries or recharging. Android also offers the opportunity to develop and deploy apps quickly and remotely.
Apps need to be installed. This can be achieved through the customers mobile device management system or, with our devices, Panasonic's configuration tool called PARC (Panasonic Rapid Configuration). It's a very easy to use software tool to carry out the configuration of TOUGHBOOK Android devices. Settings can be created as a QR code that the user can then scan to automatically set up their device. With Android Enterprise devices there is a suite of basic configuration and management tools that come as standard with the device. With Panasonic devices these tools are enhanced by Panasonic COMPASS. The Complete Android Services and Security package offers everything a business needs to configure, deploy and manage its Panasonic rugged Android devices securely.
On the negative side, Android does have some disadvantages. The operating system has a reputation (often unfairly) for poor security. The reality is that patches and updates to the Android operating system require input from the manufacturer of the device. As a result it is very important for buyers to examine closely the operating system and security update policies of the manufacturer and its commitment to keeping it's Android operating system up to date and secure.
Lastly device configuration options are more limited with Android devices with many simply offering USB connections when many businesses still require access to other connectivity such as LAN and Serial ports.
The case for Windows
Windows devices offer more computing power to run demanding applications or multiple applications at the same time - all while on the move. An example of a typical Windows use case is BIM (Building Information Modelling), where laser scanners connected to a Windows device are collecting large amounts of data (Up to 100GB+), so there is the need for more computer processing power to handle these types of application. Devices normally have, or provide the option for, a physical keyboard. This means that they are much easier to use for content creation, such as typing reports, feedback on work tasks and typing emails etc. Windows devices also offer a multitude of interfaces and functionality to connect to a wide array of external devices directly. This can be critical for some customers. For example, in the utilities sector, technicians often need to connect their devices to older equipment assets, such as water pumps or electric substations, where old technology interfaces are still being used.
Programmes are mostly installed on the device itself. Security is also well understood on the Windows operating system with regular updates coming directly from Microsoft. On the negative side, although Windows offers a lot of flexibility, it is also complex. The devices are also typically heavier. For a mobile worker that only needs to use one or two applications it often doesn't make sense for them to carry a full blown Windows notebook or tablet.
So, as you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both operating systems. It really comes down the the use case for the mobile worker. Fortunately, Panasonic offers its rugged devices in both flavours, ensuring whichever operating system you choose, you can have a rugged device that is perfect for your needs.
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