Rugged Android smartphones have already taken over numerous industries. In a report by researchandmarkets.com, the rugged Android smartphone market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2020 to 2027. This number is predicted to grow even more as the changes in how a business operates during COVID-19.
Companies who want to avoid simply wrapping their fragile glass mobile phones in bulky and heavy cases will find it beneficial to use rugged Android devices. Rugged devices have come a long way with excellent design, powerful operating systems, and reliable hardware. Dozens of industries have acknowledged how these tools enabled efficiency in their operations.
Defining Rugged Devices
These are computing tools that are designed to tolerate the most difficult and demanding environments. You can find a range of rugged devices in the market today. For example, there are rugged laptops, rugged tablets, rugged watches and rugged smartphones. To be defined as truly rugged, a device must pass an IP rating of 54.
Types of Rugged Devices
There are three levels of ruggedness and you can easily figure out which level your device should be. These three levels fit depending on how much your mobile device can endure in a harsh environment.
- Semi-rugged devices – Devices that are enhanced form of commercial off-the-shelf hardware (COTS). These rugged devices have the same strength as a regular commercial device albeit having augmented parts to ensure better protection.
- Fully rugged devices – These are devices designed to be robust from the inside out. It can work in the harshest conditions. Furthermore, fully rugged devices are resistant to shocks, durable, have protection against water and dust ingress.
- Ultra-rugged devices – These rugged devices are made specifically for military use. Military-Grade or Military-Standard devices can survive under the most demanding conditions.
The Value of Using Rugged Android Smartphones
The actual value of using rugged Android smartphones for your business operations goes beyond their durability. Today’s best-rugged devices are capable of more than just being robust. Many rugged devices are tailored to help companies perform.
For example, British rugged devices manufacturer Conker, have excellent Bespoke solutions. This means they will work with you to create a rugged device that truly fits your specific needs. Rugged Android smartphones such as Conker SX-50 and Conker ST-60 are made not just to support single-person users but to support multiple shifts.
What Are Rugged Ratings?
Not all rugged devices are made the same. A true rugged smartphone should be able to demonstrate its durability not only in laboratories but more importantly in the field. Rugged devices are tested to determine their “ruggedness”. Currently, there are two testing methods available, the MIL-STD-810: Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests and the Ingress Protection (IP) rating system.
- MIL-STD-810 – For any device to be considered MIL-STD-810 compliant, it will have to endure tests designed by the US military. The tests will measure tolerance under harsh settings from temperature to drops. The tests are extensive and cover a wide range of situations and conditions.
- IP Rating – The International Protection ratings, is an international standard of EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992). The standard is used to determine the levels of sealing effectiveness of an electrical device versus foreign materials. For example, water, dirt, dust, and moisture, which cause damage to internal parts.
A rugged device must have a minimum of at least IP 54 in order to be considered fully-rugged. Therefore, devices with IP54 or higher will be able to endure exposure to moisture, water, dust or dirt. Nevertheless, in specific industries like manufacturing, mining, warehouse, engineering or construction, a higher IP rating will be more beneficial.
According to the International Electrotechnical Commission, a device with an IP65 rating and above should be able to completely endure water, dirt, and dust. In addition, it should be able to survive being exposed to low impact water pressure for up to 15 minutes. Lastly, these devices will also be able to withstand even when dropped up to a meter. In fields where environments can be unpredictable, a rugged device with an IP67 rating or higher may be ideal.
Rugged Android Smartphones Versus Rugged Windows Handhelds
Thousands of companies around the world rely on Windows operating systems to run their operations. However, Android is increasingly becoming a good choice too. Understanding whether your team should go for rugged Android smartphones or rugged Windows handhelds is important for integration and seamless data collection. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the right operating systems, it all boils down to what your team really needs.
Rugged Windows Handhelds
Rugged Windows devices offer reliable computing power that can run even when using heavy or multiple applications. For example, Conker NS6 is the smallest rugged Windows handheld in the market today. It comes with a powerful Windows 10 enterprise operating system allowing users to enjoy all the applications that they can typically utilise in a laptop. Having a powerful and reliable operating system can make all the difference that a business needs for an efficient operation. In addition, Windows devices connect seamlessly with other Windows tools. This means your team can easily integrate from one device to another.
Rugged Android Smartphones
Rugged Android smartphones are another huge consideration for companies around the world. The android operating system was originally developed for regular consumer use. As a result, Android enjoys more than three million users today. Using rugged Android smartphones for your business operations means you don’t have to worry about extensive training for your team. Android devices are also extremely flexible users can include several applications which can be stored in the device or a cloud.
In addition, Android devices are optimised to perform for mobile use. Even when using multiple applications, these rugged Android smartphones can continue running on a single charge. We take a closer look at why Android devices are a great choice for any type of business.
Rugged Android Smartphone Features
Ruggedness and water resistance
Devices used in the field or the workplace are prone to several damages. For example, maybe dropped on a hard floor, exposed to dust and liquid, continuously used even in high-temperature areas and more. As a result, using rugged Android devices will allow businesses to continue working without worrying about damage.
Devices with an IP65 rating or higher are considered fully-rugged. The 6 in an IP68 rated device means it can withstand dust ingress. In the meantime, the 8 means the phone is protected versus water even when immersed at a certain depth. This is even when the device has multiple openings such as a charging jack, USB ports, and headphone jacks.
Rugged Android Devices Have Push to Talk
We have recently shared a blog on the benefits of using rugged Android smartphones or other rugged devices with Push to talk option. Having a PTT function allows real-time communications across teams. Other benefits of having Push to Talk function include:
- Connects multiple people at the same time – Most Push-to-talk features can allow large groups of people to connect – typically around 249 all at the same time.
- Improve communications clarity – Devices with push-to-talk functions allow for clear and constant communication between team members at all times.
- Reduced mistakes help save costs – A research on devices with a Push-to-Talk function showed that companies are able to save more than $17,000 thanks to lesser errors with the PPT function.
Rugged Android smartphones with dual sims ensure companies of network resiliency. As a result, even when devices are used in the field, workers can rely on any of the SIMs to allow a continuous connection. Having two carriers simultaneously activated on a single device can mean the difference between ensuring your team has a connection or not.
Improved Camera and Screens
In the past, rugged devices used to treat cameras and screen displays as a “secondary” feature. Today, devices such as Conker ST-60 comes with a powerful Sony Exmor RS IMX214 CMOS module allowing 13 MegaPixel images at 2736 x 4864 pixels. In addition, this rugged Android smartphone’s camera utilises SME-HDR technology, outputting 13M-pixel HDR/High Dynamic Range images. Lastly, your team can also enjoy video capture up to 30fps at 1600×1200.
The screen is another feature that should be taken into consideration. After all, rugged devices should compromise user experience. For Conker ST-60, your team will be able to enjoy Corning Glass 3. This feature promises to be chemically strengthened to be resistant to scratches and damages.
When it comes to business operations, teams rely on a long-lasting battery to allow constant communication. Today, rugged Android devices come with powerful batteries that will let users stay connected for longer periods on a single charge. For example, the Conker SX50 features a 4,000 mAh battery. This is equivalent to 9 hours of playback time and just 4 hours of charging time. On the other hand, Conker ST60 comes with a whopping 4100 mAh allowing up to 28 hours of standby and 29 hours of talk time over a 4G connection.
Additional Barcode Scanner
In another blog, we have shared the benefits of using barcode systems for any type of operation. This is why all rugged devices from Conker come with an optional 2D barcode scanner. Conker SX-50 features a 2D barcode and NFC reader. This add-on utility allows your team to easily collect and store important data in a single centralized software.
Conker’s Rugged Android Smartphones
Conker rugged devices, handhelds, and tablets are designed to endure the daily wear and tear in any work environment. The rugged devices are typically shipped with dedicated first-line hardware support. As a result, Conker ensures your team will never have to worry when it comes to implementing the latest in mobile technology.
Rugged Android smartphones are usually some of the most reliable devices in the market today. It comes with excellent design, huge storage options, powerful processors, clear and crisp images from its cameras, and more. Truly rugged devices have completely evolved from when they became first available. Today, businesses no longer need to worry about stopping work or device damage thanks to these powerful tools. If you or your team is considering using rugged devices, make sure to check out our product lists here.