nautiz x6 rugged handheld in field
Guest BlogNews

2018 rugged handheld retrospective and 2019 outlook

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”600″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#d1d1d1″ txt_color=”#0a0a0a”]

By: David Krebs VDC Research[/mks_pullquote]


Rugged handhelds in 2018

US President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that went into effect in 2018 was a boom to corporations with many – in particular in retail and logistics markets – leveraging this access to capital to make investments in critical IT infrastructure and operational technologies, including enterprise mobility solution.

Thanks to that financial jolt and other headwinds such as OS migration, the rugged handheld market was expected to end the year up 12-14%. In a market that has not grown since 2014, this represents a massive upswing.

Nautiz X9 rugged pda
The Handheld Nautiz X9 rugged handheld was brought to the market in 2018.

An outlook for 2019

In 2019 our outlook suggests continued growth, however, at a slower pace. With an increasingly uncertain global economic outlook and Android-influenced upgrade investments slowing somewhat, we expect the rugged handheld market to grow by a still healthy 4-6% through 2019 when Android’s share of rugged handheld shipments will top 75%. 

Some of the key trends we expect to impact the rugged handheld computer market in 2019 include the following.

The growth of Android

Adoption of Android-powered rugged handheld devices to support warehouse and distribution center automation has lagged the overall market as decision makers held off the inevitable. Long characterized as risk or change averse warehouse technology decision makers have held off migrating their legacy Windows CE-powered devices.

However, with the end of Windows CE support nigh and organizations not wanting to risk exposure to the potential security vulnerabilities of those devices, the decision to upgrade is being made for them. That said, the warehouse segment represents over one third of the installed base of rugged handheld devices with upwards of 5-7 million legacy Windows CE devices still in use.

Over the next year we expect a large share of these devices to update to Android and while transportation/logistics and retail segments drove growth of rugged handheld computers in 2018 it will be the warehouse segment that provides the catalyst in 2019.

The brand-new Handheld Nautiz X6 runs Android 8.0