Technology continues to march forward, and that means that some of the old technologies, even those that are tried and true and have been used for decades, need to be replaced. This eventually happens to everything. We use cars rather than horses and buggies, we have powerful computers in our pockets, whereas a couple of decades ago, even less powerful computers were relegated to desktops and laptops. The same is true of software and operating systems, which is why Windows CE 6.0 & Windows Embedded Handheld are reaching the end of their life.
Why Did Microsoft End Support?
Microsoft will no longer be supporting the operating system, which did not come as a surprise to many. The operating system was originally released in the 1990s – decades ago – and over that time it has not evolved as fast as other options on the market. Namely, it was not possible for Microsoft to keep up with the evolution of iOS and Android devices. This meant that it was getting more and more difficult to justify keeping the support going.
They first stopped their support of Windows Embedded CE 6.0 on June 10, 2018, and followed up on June 9, 2019, with the end of support for Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1. They will next stop support for Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 on January 14, 2020.
What does this mean for those companies that are still currently using devices that make use of these operating systems? Many of the devices that are using them are still in good condition, which means they technically still have years of use left in them. However, without having the support for the system, they become more difficult and more expensive to maintain.
In addition, the older system will not have the same level of technology and convenience found in tech today. They are not able to always meet the needs of the customer, and many are finding that because they are older systems, they are not as secure as the newer options on the market.
What Should Companies Do?
Not having support can be daunting and it can be difficult for many companies to understand what they should do. Here are some tips that can help.
Check Other Platforms
One of the first things you will want to do is look at the devices you are using. Just because you are using an old version of windows now does not mean that this is the only option that is available for the device. Many of them have support for various types of operating systems, such as Android. You might find that the best course of action is to simply switch over to Android. Just keep in mind that some of the older devices might
only support older versions of Android, which means you will still be somewhat outdated. It can act as an interim solution, though.
Switch to Android or iOS
Another most popular option, would be to change up the devices that are being used. Choosing to use an operating system like Android with new devices can be a very good option. Android grows and evolves regularly, and it should be able to work with newer devices for many years to come. iOS could work, as well, but when you start to examine these systems closer, you will find that Android tends to be the go-to option for enterprise needs. In addition, iOS tends to be more expensive, especially when you factor in needing to get all new devices. Android devices tend to be more affordable but just as rugged. 95% new rugged devices made by Zebra and Honeywell runs on Android and Android is the clear winner in the Enterprise Supply chain uses category.
You always want to have an operating system that is durable, that is customizable, and that will work the way you need it to work. You also need to consider where and how you will be using the devices. With Windows CE & Embedded Handheld, companies tended to have devices that were going to work well in rough and harsh environments where they could be exposed to various temperatures and conditions. You still need to have rugged devices even though you are using a different operating system.
Something else that businesses will need to consider is their current applications. The applications that are running on a Windows system will not likely work with iOS or Android. If you have been using those apps for a long time, the thought of working with something brand new can be daunting. However, it will likely be necessary.
Many vendors such as Propel Apps have built state of the art mobile applications that run on both Android and iOS platforms. These new generation apps offers simple user experience, more functionality and features that improves productivity of your material handlers, maintenance technicians and field service technicians.
To have your long term needs covered, make sure these off-the-shelf smartphone apps have robust offline functionality, integrates with Oracle ERP such as EBS and Cloud. Also, ensure that these apps offer smooth and quicker upgrade from lower versions such as 11i, 12.1 to 12.2 and Cloud.
Before you implement the new system and app to the employees, it is important that you and management know and understand the ins and outs of the application. This ensures you will be able to answer any and all questions that the employees have when they start to use this replacement system for their Windows CE & Windows Embedded Handheld devices and applications.
Just because your current OS, apps, and devices might not be usable any longer, it doesn’t mean you need to panic. Find a new and better solution for your company today.