Sales of rugged devices — including fully and semi-rugged laptops, tablets, handhelds, and smartphones — are on the rise, this in spite of aggressive attempts by non-rugged competitors to counter the trend. That’s the conclusion of a VDC Research report published in Field Technologies Online:
“Rugged tablets are the only truly mobile PCs that have proven capable of adapting on demand to the variations encountered in rapidly changing business and environmental climates. And that is why they are still the preferred mobile PC form factor despite aggressive attempts by notebook, handheld, and hybrid manufacturers to disrupt rugged tablets’ track record.”
The reasons rugged sales are climbing while the overall market for tablet computers is cooling off (with falling sales for the last 3 consecutive years) are several, as noted below. But the simple fact is that rugged devices are selling because that’s what professionals across a wide range of industries prefer, industries in which failure is not an option, including construction, the military, transportation, healthcare and manufacturing, among others. From oil rigs in Texas to military installations across the globe, rugged devices dramatically outperform conventional consumer equipment.
Here are six key advantages of rugged computing devices:
- A Dramatically Lower Failure Rate
Even though they must perform in harsh environments, rugged devices have a failure rate of just 2%, dramatically lower than the 12% failure rate of non-rugged devices. In industries like healthcare and public safety, failure is about more than money.
- An Expanded Lifecycle
Rugged devices last longer. On average, a non-rugged device has a lifespan of two to three years. A rugged device typically lasts about six years, which means they need to be replaced less frequently.
- Performance in Extreme Climates
Rugged devices remain fully operational in temperatures from zero to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Non-rugged devices in cold climates must be left indoors, or inside a heated vehicle, until the ambient temperature climbs above 32 degrees. In hot climates, non-rugged devices may fail entirely.
- Enhanced Communications Capability
Rugged devices are often equipped with embedded cellular, GPS, and Wi-Fi modems. When the mobile device is docked in a vehicle, it can turn off embedded radios and pass signals through the dock hardware to roof-mounted antennas (what’s known as a “radio pass-through”). Non-rugged devices do not include this enhanced communications capability.
- Rugged Ability
Rugged devices are called rugged for a reason—they are far more resistant to harsh conditions. Rugged devices are benchmarked in accordance with the U.S. Military Standard 810G (MIL-STD-810G). These grueling standards test rugged devices along a wide range of parameters, such as surviving drops from heights, shock impact, extreme temperature, and liquid, particulate, and humidity resistance. In other words, rugged devices, unlike their non-rugged counterparts, remain operational in extreme conditions, a key advantage for end users in the industries for which they’re manufactured.
- Embedded Options for Enhanced Functionality
Rugged mobile computers are manufactured to permit a variety of embedded options to increase functionality. Common embedded options include radio frequency ID card readers, insertable card readers, barcode scanners and magnetic stripe readers.
Professionals in public safety, healthcare, the oil and gas industry, the military and homeland security, construction, and utilities can’t risk using devices that are likely to fail in harsh environments, or if they’re dropped or exposed to extreme weather conditions. They rely on rugged devices for uninterrupted performance and enhanced communications in the conditions in which they work, every day. Given their critical advantages over non-rugged tablets and handheld devices, it’s not surprising sales of rugged computing devices continue outpace those of non-rugged devices.
To learn more about our full, end-to-end mobile technology solutions, including fully- and semi-rugged laptops, tablets and handhelds and smartphones, contact us today.