Do I need Microsoft® Windows® in a handheld?
No, Windows® is not absolutely necessary from an operations point of view. But IT departments often decide on the components they support in the company. Windows®, therefore, is sometimes a requirement.
If Windows® is not required, CipherLab's proprietary operating system (OS) will be more than adequate in most applications. It even offers some benefits that Windows®does not, like better control over how the handheld is used, less memory required, fewer updates, etc. Windows®requires a lot more overhead and thus memory, needs frequent OS patches, and does not typically offer the lockout capabilities that prevent users from surfing the web or using it in other ways not related to their jobs.
When Windows® is required, CipherLab offers mobile computers that support Windows®, giving users and IT managers equipment they are familiar with.
What is the difference between Windows® CE and Mobile?
Mobile is a ready-to-use, prepackaged OS for handhelds offered by Microsoft®. It's Microsoft's® branded handheld OS, based on the same OS engine in CE. Integrators and end users cannot modify or downgrade the tools or applications embedded in Windows® Mobile. It typically comes with several tools, like Internet Explorer and Mobile versions of Microsoft® Office tools.
Windows® CE is the developer's engine for Windows® Mobile and for creating a customized Windows®-based operating system for handheld devices. With Windows® CE, integrators can package specific applications and tools into a custom Windows® device tuned for a particular application. For example, an integrator can remove Internet Explorer from Windows® CE, while keeping the wireless LAN feature enabled, to allow wireless network access within an application area, like a warehouse or in the field, while preventing the user from browsing the Internet using the handheld. Microsoft® licenses both OSs, which adds cost to a Windows®-based device.
What are the advantages of a non-Windows® platform?
The main advantage of the non-Windows® environment is the ability to quickly create a highly customized mobile computer programmed for a particular application that is easy to use. Non-Windows® devices have no Windows®license fee included in the price. Non-Windows® devices do not need high-end processors; they require less memory; and can easily be used without a color display. All these characteristics reduce the cost of the hardware. And, because the hardware draws less power, non-Windows® devices can run longer between battery recharges. For example, the non-Windows® 8500 series mobile computers run up to 400 hours in batch mode and 32 hours using wireless LAN. The Windows®based 9500 series devices run for up to 20 hours in batch and up to 18 hours with wireless LAN.
Non-Windows® devices are typically for a specific application within a particular industry. Industries, like warehousing, where tasks are more confined (scanning items in and out, etc.), do not need Windows®.
Therefore, CipherLab designs a variety of non-Windows® mobile computers that offer great features and benefits to companies in form factors that are ideal for particular users. For example, in hospitals, nurses needing instant access to patient data can carry the pocket-sized 8000 series mobile computer with wireless LAN to access patient records in real time from anywhere in the hospital, enabling better, safer patient care. Delivery drivers with CipherLab 8500 series mobiles computers with wireless WAN(GSM/GPRS/EDGE) - can complete deliveries, gather data, and transmit it to the company's servers across town or across the country. There's a CipherLab mobile computer ideal for any application.