In part 2 of his series, Handheld’s founder and CEO Jerker Hellström says that traditional rugged computer makers are best equipped to supply truly rugged smartphones and tablets.

In this commentary, Hellström takes a look at the trend of large cell phone manufacturers launching smartphones that are rugged. Some might call the smartphones “ruggedish.” Hellström believes that specialized rugged computer manufacturers will continue to service the marketplace with genuinely rugged products. What follows are the views of Jerker Hellström (pictured at the left).

The traditional rugged segment of the smartphone market is growing and becoming more attractive to the mass market, and the mass producers of smartphones are manufacturing more ruggedish devices. We have a convergence here. Where will it leave the specialized rugged computer manufacturers?

Rugged mobile computer companies like Itronix, Trimble and Handheld have for decades been churning out truly rugged devices. Are the large smartphone manufacturers now invading their domain?

I think not. On the contrary, I think that a new focus on consumers’ need for durable products will benefit the rugged mobile computer industry, which is best equipped to make truly rugged devices. The professional field worker will stick with the products from the specialist rugged mobile computer makers simply because the products are so much better.

For field professionals, it is about reliability and the cost of downtime. They simply cannot afford to lose productive time because of hardware malfunctions. If a mobile computer is business critical, they will not choose a ruggedish computer.

Other reasons why the traditional rugged computer makers still have a strong position:
 
——It is very difficult to design and manufacture rugged mobile computers. It takes competence and experience that is not easy to acquire.

——The rugged computer makers have a longer perspective on the products and often offer five-year support and service plans.


——Rugged computer makers choose components with long life cycles, and the components are designed for industrial use.


——Rugged computer makers have existing and comprehensive service and support plans, which enable customers to repair damaged units for several years after the purchase.

In conclusion: the trend towards more rugged computers is good for everyone. There is definitely room for the traditional cell phone manufacturers to offer more durable products to the mass market. But the truly specialized rugged computer makers will still be best equipped to supply truly rugged computers to everyone.

Jerker Hellström is the founder and CEO of Handheld, a manufacturer of rugged mobile computers, PDAs and smartphones. Hellström is a pioneer and industry veteran in the mobile rugged computer industry.  He has more than 25 years of experience in developing, designing, manufacturing and marketing rugged computers globally. He has experience in both entrepreneurial and managerial positions. Hellström´s educational background is in engineering and computer science.

Handheld US is a North American supplier of rugged PDAs and handheld computers. The company and its partners deliver complete mobility solutions to organizations in government and industries such as logistics, forestry, public transportation, construction, military, and security. Go here for details on product offerings for road and railway maintenance crews from Handheld US.

This video shows how the Handheld NAUTIZ X1 ultra-rugged smartphone can withstand harsh everyday conditions. The product meets stringent MIL-STD-810G military standards for withstanding humidity, vibration, drops and extreme temperatures.

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