The rugged PDA market is well established although devices and platforms have seen major shifts in the past few years. Now the rise in acceptance of smartphones has seen a surge in the deployment of rugged smartphones.

Rugged Smartphones

While many IT departments and the wider IT industry are focusing on BYOD there is a strong case for enterprise deployed rugged phones when such devices are running job critical functions. The shift to cloud computing and mobile apps is facilitating the computerization of numerous activities and also rugged smartphones are also enabling applications that previously ran on rugged tablets.

Rugged PDAs

Traditionally rugged PDAs have been used widely in logistics, most commonly with integrated data capture capabilities such as barcode scanning. Now the demand for data acquisition frequently extends to RFID and in most devices, multiple simultaneous modules for data capture are supported.


Tablet Technologies was founded in 2008 but it is 2015 that has seen the most major evolution in platform uptake in the rugged mobile space. Smartphone OSs have been present in this marketplace since at least 2000 in the form of Microsoft’s Pocket PC yet despite the emergence of iOS and Android in 2007 most commercial use of mobiles has remained Microsoft centric.

Rugged Windows Phones

Microsoft’s most popular iteration of its Smartphone OS, Windows Mobile 6.0, was launched in 2007 and refreshed in 2009 with Windows Mobile 6.5 which was eventually renamed Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. Microsoft launched a new consumer-focused mobile OS, Windows Phone 7 in 2010 which was followed in 2012 by version 8, 8.1 in 2014, and finally, 2015 we will see version 2015. Industry interest in Windows phones has been very low due to zero legacy support for Windows Mobile or .NET applications, however, a new move towards the cloud and Microsoft’s Office 365 and Sharepoint infrastructure is seeing a fresh take on Windows Phone with some rugged Windows phones emerging.

Rugged Android Smartphones & PDAs

The real surge in 2015 has been on the Android platform. Although it has its drawbacks in terms of platform fragmentation the nature of cloud infrastructure is increasingly making platforms irrelevant when all that is required is often just an HTML5 browser and internet connectivity. With rugged Android smartphones of course you get this along with a rich application eco-system and mature development tools that come with a platform that has surpassed a billion active users.

We hold an expanding range of rugged smartphones and rugged PDAs covering different platforms, form factors, and use case scenarios. Whether you are looking for legacy Windows, modern Windows, or Android there is likely a device that will fit your requirements.

To know more about the top rugged smartphones in the market today, read about it here.