Arsenic Bandurian of Motorola Solutions (now Zebra Technologies) has raised an interesting question in his blog: What does the announcement of Windows 10 mean for the future of enterprise-class Windows E8.1H, just after the first professional devices equipped with it have been released to the market 20 months after the announcement.
Windows 10 will run on all devices – from PCs to mobile devices – and it should be released by mid-2015. How likely is it that Windows E8.1H will be able to achieve the status of Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 as a de facto standard for mobile enterprise applications? Businesses need stability and long-term planning, which applies to both the user and the developer’s part. Windows E8.1H is not compatible with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. Will Windows 10 be backwards compatible? Will applications developed for Windows E8.1H then loose their value already by the end of 2015?
In the Overview of Microsoft product life cycles & Support Windows E8.1H is not listed, while the current industry standard Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 will be supported until 2020. Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is currently the only operating system (OS), which in terms of IT security and predictability meets the needs of businesses. If you buy a device with this operating system now, the software will be able to run at least until 2020 and Microsoft will close security gaps until that date. At the moment no operating system provides better predictability. Of course there are restrictions as far as operation and hardware support are concerned, therefore you have to compare the individual requirements of a solution with the specifications available under Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.
In medium terms, in our opinion as system integrators and Software developers developing OS-independent software is unavoidable, especially for complex solutions in logistics. Neither Microsoft nor Google after Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 offer an operating system that enable companies to plan ahead for several years.
Software development and deployment typically require the highest investment and pose the greatest risks. A product cycle of
just a few years, as common practice in the area of consumer devices and now also lived by Microsoft and Google, is dangerous for professional users and requires good planning and smart concepts to make investments in mobile devices that really pay off.
If you have questions, contact us, we will advise you.