“When you’re out shopping, chances are you’ve seen store employees using devices to price merchandise or assist you in checking you out. Received a package recently? The delivery person probably scanned it with a similar device. The people responsible for tracking inventory in a warehouse are also using a device to help manage their business. In any case, these devices are known in my world as ‘handheld terminals’ or ‘ruggedized devices’ because they’re built to be used in adverse environments and industrial settings.”
David Wurster does a great job of describing where you’ll find ruggedized devices and what they are being used for. He continues on in a post over at the official Microsoft blog to describe the future of Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded. While you may not be aware of these devices, a great number of them are powered by some form of Windows, like Windows CE, Windows Mobile, or even Windows Embedded.
In the past the Windows Embedded Business (WEB) has controlled Windows CE and all the embedded efforts. Windows Mobile was part of the Mobile Communication Business (MCB) at Microsoft. Moving forward, Windows Mobile will be brought under the WEB group. The MCB will be left to control the more consumer products like Windows Phone 7, while WEB will continue to provide solutions for industrial devices.
Since Windows Phone 7 was announced, there has been some uncertainty in the rugged space about what will be powering the next generation of devices, because Windows Phone 7 is much to consumer and lacks the development freedom that Windows Mobile and CE have provided. David’s post helps to clear that up and define what we can expect in the coming months.