Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Industrial - Windows CE mobile devices - The bitter end for Windows CE and Mobile

Manufacturing - Warehousing - Logistics  :  The End of Windows CE


Throughout manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, users have been using Windows CE and Mobile Computers to connect to ERP systems such as SAP, Navision, Epicor, etc.  These devices are often made by major manufacturers such as Zebra, Honeywell or Datalogic and will in the past have run mobile operating systems such as Windows CE ( 5 or 6 ) or Windows Mobile ( 5, 6 or 6.5).

However the make of the terminal may no longer be available as there has been a lot of manufacturer consolidation, meaning that a big manufacturer buys up smaller manufacturers.  This has left a lot of warehouse and logistics managers and some IT managers confused as to where to get service and support or even buy additional devices for their businesses.  But this is about to get MUCH worse!


But first lets think about the current devices in use today.  

They can be from a wide range of defunct manufacturers, taken over in the last five years by a few big boys.  The list below is not comprehensive, but shows most of the major suppliers over the last 10 years. Clienty

Symbol - Motorola - Psion - Telxon - LXE
Hand Held Products (HHP) - Intermec - PSC

All these are now owned by
Zebra - Honeywell and Datalogic. 

So what?  Many don't know or care who makes the mobile terminals they use in the factory or warehouse, so why is it important now?  Well it is important now because all three of these Manufacturers have declared that they will no longer support Windows products - ONLY Android.

The Death of Windows CE and Mobile

With little public knowledge, all major industrial terminal manufacturers have deleted Windows devices from their price books and roadmaps, meaning that ALL future Mobile Computers and Terminals will be Android.  And by future I really mean NOW!

This causes two major issues to become apparent for big businesses running big ERP:
  1. With only Android devices available - will the corporate policy allow them onto the business network?  Many don't!
  2. If Windows CE devices are no longer available, will the ERP software run on Android?
Both are difficult questions and need some careful planning and some fundamental re-thinking about how mobile computers and terminals talk to big ERP systems like SAP.

Even today many users of SAP - Microsoft NAV - Oracle - Dynamics - Sage, etc, use Client Software that is simple Terminal Emulation (TE) or Browser based (web linked). They are not on the whole supplying custom written Mobile device friendly client software and where they are its mostly written for a particular version of Windows CE or worse, Windows Mobile 6.5 (discontinued in 2010).

So now that Android is becoming the only game in town, there will be some dificult choices to be made when new or replacement Mobile devices are needed for the factory, warehouse or supply chain.

However there is some good news!  Software suppliers such as Wavelink have been working hard in the background to create products that will bridge the divide between Windows CE and Android. 
WaveLink Velocity replace old TE client software, such as Naurtech  


Wavelink Velocity will run on Windows CE and Windows Mobile and Android, so by replacing old TE (green screen terminal emulation) software on older Windows CE devices with Velocity, businesses can have an exact look and feel across Windows and Android mobile terminals.

This means businesses can choose the right device for their business process, with out worrying about future license and obsolescence issues.

Velocity offers support for all Types of terminal emulations:  SAP: Naurtech : CETerm: Termite - VT 100 : IBM AS/400 5250 : IBM 3270 : VT220

Velocity also supports Web based industrial browsers and can dramatically speed up the response on Web based browser ERP connectors.

For the full story on your choices using mobile devices within your ERP, talk to the experts at
Barcode-IT - 01200 441977 - sales@barcode-it.co.uk - www.barcode-it.co.uk