For months, those of us in the mobile software business have been wondering, pondering, blogging and asking what would happen to Microsoft’s hold on the ruggedized mobility space. The lack of innovation and information coming from Redmond has given reasonable pause for these queries.  On June 17, 2010 Microsoft finally answered the question with a statement on its news site –

This is a significant and long overdue move forward for Microsoft.  Strategically this move could solidify their position as the operating system standard for rugged devices. The timing of this business decision, while perhaps a little late, is critical – especially considering all of the new players that have come into the mobile space in the past few years.

As I discussed this with our team today, it was clear that even though Microsoft is trying to fortify their position, a switch in mindset is needed.  As we are developing our own software line, we have been thinking in terms of “Which OS should we support – iPhone, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry or Android?”, when in reality we need to develop clients for each OS.  Each OS has carved a niche in the market and all of them have their place.  We can no longer pick one side and think we are going to be successful.  The minute we do, one of the other platforms will make a change or add a great feature and we are stuck again. The key is choosing the right device for the business problem at hand.

Looking ahead is a challenge. All of the research and thinking in the world won’t give us anymore insight into what the next big thing will be in the mobile space. But we are seeing trends around usability, rich features like RFID, GPS and barcodes and more fully connected devices.  Our team’s approach and goal is to expose all of the new features available as they apply to any business situation, bringing real ROI to our customers.

Author: Rod Puzey – COO, Zenware