Seven Business-Critical Steps to Take to Migrate from Legacy Windows to Ruggedized Android Devices

Seven Business-Critical Steps to Take to Migrate from Legacy Windows to Ruggedized Android Devices

According to a recent enterprise mobile study, more than 50 percent of decision-makers said they will remain on legacy Windows® after End of Life phase or are still evaluating their options.1 This means that organizations will be running software that’s no longer supported, resulting in the potential for data to be compromised. 

With so much information, why do companies still take a wait-and-see approach, hoping to extend the lifecycle of devices beyond their intended life? For some it’s because this transition is not simply about buying replacement devices. It will take substantial resources to support moving to a new OS. For others, it’s not knowing where to begin the process. Whatever the reason, the transition from legacy Windows to an operating system like Android™ is a business necessity.

On the upside, moving from legacy Windows devices is an opportunity to drive operational efficiencies by refining workflows, by leveraging the capabilities of modern mobile devices and providing employees a richer and more intuitive mobile experience.

Seven Business-Critical Steps

You can make the transition relatively smooth by taking business-critical steps to ensure business continuity and minimize the cost of transitioning to a new operating system. This includes 1) Identifying a replacement OS such as Android, 2) Examining business processes that can be optimized to meet changing business requirements, 3) Setting a realistic budget, and 4) Considering in-house technical expertise. There are a number of actions that organizations should take that include:

  • Know your in-house technical capabilities. As you plan for the migration, weigh your objectives against IT staffing and the knowledge base that will be needed to reach the objectives. If you are planning on migrating your existing Windows code base to another OS, the IT team already knows of the formidable task before them to code or recode applications, debug the code, and get it up to speed on the new operating system. Many IT teams supplement their resources with competent external IT resources whose expertise is focused on migrating from legacy Windows OS to Android OS.
  • Define OS. Define which OS you will upgrade to. Microsoft recommends Android and iOS. 
  • Application development/migration. If you depend on applications made for Windows mobile operating systems, scoping and managing the app migration is mission-critical. It starts with establishing requirements that ensure full app capability with both the new operating system and devices.  This process must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of native versus web-based apps or a combination thereof. App migration can be complex and expensive. However, improved productivity can make a difference in ROI. For example, cutting just 30 seconds off a scan-and-load operation can gain 250 hours each day in a warehouse that performs 30,000 daily scans.  Again, this is where hiring external IT resources can make a big difference.
  • Take inventory. Take inventory of your current fleet of mobile devices and which OS they are running. Action needs to be first planned for devices running on Windows CE 6.0 followed by devices running on Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. 
  • Set budget and timeframe. Work with your mobile device solution supplier to set a budget and timeframe for implementation. A realistic budget is a vital component of a roadmap. Be careful of short-term savings that result in negative long-term implications for business operations or data security. 
  • Review replacement devices. Review with your solution provider OS device options to replace your end of life devices. The solution you choose will have far-reaching effects on your business for years into the future. 
  • Choose and plan transition. Choose your devices and plan for a smooth transition and quick adoption by the workforce.

Think Android Platform First, Ruggedized Device Second

All ruggedized devices running on Android are not the same. 
Honeywell has been working with Android since 2011. We have made massive investments in Android engineering competency. Honeywell helps companies confidently select, deploy, and manage Android operating system devices and services. As part of the Google-led Android Enterprise Recommended Managed Service Provider program, Honeywell provides customers more confidence in deploying Android solutions and making sure their enterprise mobility deployment is consistent and current. 

Honeywell provides customers with a comprehensive set of enterprise services that address every phase of the mobility lifecycle to help streamline operations and reduce IT-related costs. Honeywell globally manages more than two million devices such as smartphones, tablets, and ruggedized mobile computers.

Honeywell is one of the only companies that delivers both Android Enterprise Recommended mobile devices and managed services. Honeywell's validated devices are built on the company's Mobility EdgeTM platform, a common hardware architecture and set of software tools that provide IT departments with an agile approach for deploying, managing, and updating devices. 

Mobile devices built on the scalable Mobility Edge platform help extend product lifecycles by supporting current and future versions of the Android operating system. Honeywell is one of the only rugged mobile computer providers to commit to supporting through at least Android R.

Introduction to Honeywell’s Mobility Edge for Android

Mobility Edge is based upon extensive research gathered from Honeywell’s global community of customers from a range of technologies. Honeywell recognized that businesses wanted a unified hardware and software platform for all form factors – one that allowed for rapid deployments, robust performance, and adaptability to changing needs.

We completely rethought our approach to meeting the challenges of supporting a mobile workforce, and Mobility Edge was the answer. This unified, dynamic platform for mobile computing is designed to:

  • Accelerate Deployments
  • Optimize Business Performance
  • Extend Lifecycle
  • Strengthen Security

Established service and support data went into the development of Mobility Edge. We optimized our mobility devices based on the work patterns of many customers and actual users to deliver more realistic testing and precise engineering requirements. Using historical insights from service data, we addressed common failure points during the design phase, making our Mobility Edge products more resilient and stable. We also mined our detailed support data to further improve and refine product quality. By providing a unified hardware and software platform with an agile approach, we can bring you more secure and reliable solutions across your operation.

Mobility Edge offers an integrated, repeatable, scalable approach to device management that is based on a common hardware and software platform. Designed for Android, it delivers a unified platform that all software solutions are based on. Businesses can develop and deploy faster while reducing development costs.

The Mobility Edge common platform is composed of:

  • Common SOM (System On Module), which includes the CPU, memory, WWAN (in selected devices), WLAN, Bluetooth®, near-field communication (NFC), and Zigbee (in selected devices).
  • Common Operating System Image with support for multiple generations of Android, from Android O through Android R.
  • Common Software Ecosystem that includes not just Honeywell software, but also Honeywell-approved ISVs (independent software vendors).

Together these common elements minimize your company’s cost, effort, and risk. They accelerate your time-to-value so you can start deploying devices into the hands of your mobile workers much faster. And they maximize your ROI by extending the lifecycle of your devices.

Businesses wishing to extend product lifecycle and gain a better return on their technology investment will be assured by the fact that Mobility Edge platform devices can be upgraded through Android R. Honeywell also provides critical security updates for up to two years past Google’s last security patch through its Sentinel service, giving customers a product lifecycle through at least 2027.

Honeywell is committed to the longevity and quality of the Mobility Edge platform.

What to Expect from Honeywell Ruggedized Devices

Honeywell’s rugged handheld computers provide multipurpose utility in an ergonomic form factor, driving improved productivity for your mobile workers and a lower total cost of ownership for your business. 

Our handheld computers combine the advantages of consumer PDAs and high-end industrial mobile computers into a single rugged package. Like PDAs, Honeywell devices are designed with the worker in mind, and they provide targeted functionality, a tactical keypad, and enhanced connectivity. Because the devices are touch-based, they are more familiar to the user, which improves speed to productivity.

All of our Android devices are built on Honeywell’s Mobility Edge, a unified hardware and software platform for all form factors. It allows for rapid deployments, enhanced performance, and adaptability to changing needs. With Mobility Edge, a one-time investment in setup, deployment, and provisioning is reusable across all devices.

Honeywell Devices on the Mobility Edge Platform

The current family of devices includes the CT40, CT60, CN80, CK65, and Thor™ VM1A devices, all running on Mobility Edge. More devices are in process for future release. A brief overview of each device follows:

CT40 Mobile Computer

  • Sleek, Ergonomic, Easy to Use All Day Long. The sleek, lightweight, ergonomic design fits easily in the hand – while the simple, intuitive smartphone user interface, enterprise-ready ruggedness, and long-life battery keep workers productive all day long.
  • Seamless Integration and Investment Protection. Easy compatibility and seamless integration with both Honeywell Connected applications as well as third-party applications such as MDM, Push to Talk, and VoIP software to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.
  • Advanced Data Capture Scanning. Offers three convenient scan engine options with enhanced data capture speed and reading range performance to improve worker efficiency; provides flexibility with a green LED dot aimer or a sharp red frame laser aimer for fast barcode capture, even outdoors.

CT60 Mobile Computer

  • Optimal Power and Connectivity. Delivers all-day connectivity to business-critical data and systems with a powerful Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 660 processor, the latest 4G LTE/NFC connectivity, and long-lasting battery power.
  • Unparalleled Scanning Performance. Next-generation 2D imager delivers best-in-class data capture on linear and 2D barcodes. Optional scan handle for flexibility to switch between handheld and pistol grip operations to reduce worker fatigue.
  • Rugged, Ergonomic Design – Built to Last. Sleek, lightweight, and rugged. Fits easily into a pocket. IP65 and IP67 ratings against dust/water spray; can withstand multiple 1.5 m (5 ft) drops to concrete and 1,000 1 m (3.3 ft) tumbles.

CN80 Mobile Computer

  • Rugged, Ergonomic Design – Built to Last. Minimizes downtime and lost productivity with extreme longevity: withstands 3 m (10 ft) drops to concrete and 2,000 1 m (3.3 ft) tumbles; IP65/IP67 ratings for dust/water spray and even immersion; cold storage and non-incendive options.
  • Best of Both Worlds – Keys and Touchscreen. Boosts productivity with a real numeric or QWERTY keypad for fast and easy data entry plus a full touchscreen for new or future application migration.
  • Unparalleled Scanning Performance. Enhanced 1D/2D scanning/data capture options with read ranges of 0.15 m to 15.2 m (6 in to 50 ft) typically required in today’s warehouses; optional scan handle for flexibility.
  • Long Battery Life to Drive Productivity. Long shifts, extended talk-times, and heavy GPS usage are no match for the CN80. Long battery life minimizes workflow interruptions and drives efficiency.

CK65 Mobile Computer

  • Best-in-Class Drop Rating. A 2.4 m (8 ft) drop spec across temperatures helps you ensure maximum uptime, reducing spare pool size and saving on repair costs.
  • Support for Touchscreen and Keypad. Choose the data input method that works best for the task or app at hand, with support for newer touch-based or older key-based legacy apps.
  • Superior Wi-Fi. The best wi-fi in its class for reliable, drop-free connections: Bluetooth® 5 for headsets and other accessories and NFC in every model. No more struggling with bad connections!
  • Industry-Leading Battery Life: Maximize productivity with 28 hours of battery life – versus competitive models’ 14-18 hours. The battery is also hot-swappable so workers don’t need to reboot and lose their active session when swapping batteries.
  • Backward-Compatibility. Reduce your operating costs and risk by reusing existing CK3X accessories and batteries – no need to buy and deploy new ones.

Thor™ VM1A Vehicle-Mounted Computer

  • Field-Replaceable Front Panel. Reduce maintenance costs by enabling in-house staff to repair the most common touchscreen and keyboard issues, rather than send the whole computer in for service.
  • Smart Dock for Easy Mounting and Removal. The Smart Dock feature enables mounting and removal in seconds without touching cabling, allowing computers to be quickly and easily shifted between vehicles as workloads change. Built for All-Day Productivity. Fast processor, WLAN connectivity, integrated keyboard, and large 8-inch touchscreen keeps data readily accessible, while the ignition control feature helps manage power, saving startup time and extending vehicle battery life.
  • Cold Storage Option. Built to withstand extreme temperatures and rugged conditions, both indoors and out. Available with optional screen defroster for use in cold storage and freezer environments.


Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Industrial Automation. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.