Android is an open system supported by many resources, developers, and enthusiasts. Other than published documentation, Google provides relatively little direct support, instead relying on the user community for this function. As such, an enterprise customer considering Android must also evaluate the support systems of their potential vendors. Those choosing to work with us are in good hands. Versatile Mobile Systems is expert in Android equipment evaluation and deployment. In contrast to Microsoft Windows Embedded 8 Handheld and Apple iOS, Android apps may be obtained from multiple app stores or marketplaces. Google does not curate a collection of apps to be offered through a single portal. Upon registration, any developer may post an app to the Google Play store; other marketplace providers may have different requirements. Evaluation of the app for quality and suitability to purpose is left to the customer acquiring it, though more app stores provide a means for other users to rate and post comments about apps. Android solutions in the AIDC market tend to rely on Mobile Device Management systems for maintenance and configuration of mobile devices. Again, Google provides few tools to manage enterprise systems, i.e., company-owned devices managed on behalf of the end users.
Benefits to You, the Customer
With a very broad and active ecosystem for applications, the customer deploying an Android solution has great leverage to source and adopt apps to perform specific functions within their environment. IT departments can be more responsive to customer needs by deploying small apps to accomplish specific tasks quickly and easily. Enterprises developing their own apps will find many tools and resources readily available to support their efforts. Android provides a broad and mature set of services, APIs, and frameworks that facilitate faster and easier app development. These tools enable developers to incorporate a broad array of application functionality through simple system calls instead of having to develop, debug and support these capabilities independently. The Android services ecosystem is currently far more mature and complete than newer systems such as Windows Embedded 8 Handheld. Android uses a virtual machine model for app execution; each app is “sandboxed” with its own process and file system. This promotes security and system stability. In addition, there is a good interapplication communication model and a shared file area that enables multiple apps to work together. Acceptance of Android is high due to its familiarity and ease of use; many employees already have experience with smartphones and understand the navigation of the user interface and the use of gestures. As a result, user training for an Android-based solution can potentially be easier and faster than older system designs.
Implications for Android Deployments
Enterprises targeting an Android deployment should expect to develop or acquire new applications. Existing apps written for Windows Mobile or Windows Embedded Handheld cannot be leveraged to the Android environment. Versatile Mobile Systems, through our partnership with Barcoding, Inc., can help you through this process.