Popular Mobile Devices and Accessories for the Android-powered Field Workforce

These rugged Android devices and accessories withstand the toughest of elements

These days, Smartphone users surf the web, download documents, take photos, record videos and more with the click of a button at any time and place. The same principle applies in a work setting. The mobile workforce especially embraces mobile Cloud based tablets and phones. Service technicians love to use their phones view their schedules, capture photos and videos in confined spaces like tunnels or rooftops. Using a tablet or phone is much easier than carrying around a phone, camera and notebook all day. But field service can get a bit rough outdoors, and devices may easily become damaged. This is where rugged devices come into play.

What are Rugged Devices?

Simply put, rugged or ruggedized phones and accessories work in harsh use conditions such as water, dust, extreme temperatures and heights. In our last post on rugged devices, we talked about the most popular iPad and iPhone protective accessories for outdoor work. We also discussed some of the hype behind BYOD. Although iPad and iPhone is popular in the world of BYOD, some may prefer Android.

Below is a list of some highly rated rugged Android devices and accessories made for service technicians.

  • Cat S60 for Android 6.0– The award-winning Cat S60 is known as the “world’s first thermal imaging Smartphone.” Using MTX technology, the phone’s camera senses heat and creates an electronic image based on an object’s exact temperature. Generally, the darker the image, the colder the temperature. A grayer image shows an in-between range. Thermal imaging accurately monitors machine performance, gas levels, electrical lines and insulation gaps.

    The CAT 560 has an IP68 water protection rating and can be left in waters up to 5 meters deep for an hour. It can also be dropped up to 1.8 meters. The 3800mAh battery and 32 GB storage guarantee the phone will last an entire shift and store a lot of important data over the years.

    CAT phones are made by Caterpillar and Bullit Group, inspired by both military standards and Android technology and made for GSM carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile). CAT phones are sold on Amazon and catphones.com.

  • Sonim XP7 Screen Protector– The Sonim XP7 cover is a replaceable version of the Sonim XP7 phone screen. The 3mm thick cover is made with strong PET polyester material to resist scratches and cracks. One side has a non-slip Silicone adhesive coating for easy installation. Simply wash, wipe and lay down the screen. Push a plastic card down to get rid of any air bubbles. For outdoor workers, this screen is great for viewing in direct sunlight, dirty environments and with gloves on without becoming damaged. Simply go to the phone’s settings and activate the glove use mode.
  • Sonim XP7 Phone– The Sonim XP7 rugged phone is like a Smartphone and tool box combined. The noise cancellation feature eliminates the need for bulky headphones in overly loud environments, while the extra-loud speaker makes it easier to communicate. A user-friendly LED light helps navigate tunnels, dark rooms and spaces with the simple click of a button. The phone measures 137 mm x 72.1 mm x 20.8 mm and weighs just 290 g to fit nicely into a pocket.

    The Sonim XP7 survives the worst of outdoor elements. The IP-6X waterproof rating ensures protection in 6.5 feet deep waters for up to 30 minutes. Technicians can use this phone in temperatures ranging from -5F to +130 F without worrying about damage. The fiberglass material is shock-resistant and proven to withstand chemicals, oils and up to one ton of pressure.

    The XP7 model has a 4800 mAh battery which lasts up to 1,000 standby hours and 50 talk hours. Languages supported include English, French, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

  • Samsung SM-T360N Galaxy Tab Active– The rugged SM-T360N tablet by Samsung includes a free rugged protective case and C-pen, which is great for traveling. The Galaxy Tab Active and case resist shock, water and dust, and can be dropped up to four feet. The screen features daylight readability and works in a wide range of temperatures. Users can use the POGO pin to charge the tablet while traveling. The user replaceable battery lasts up to ten hours.

    The Galaxy tablet is not only durable, but it eliminates paperwork in field service. Technicians can use the C-pen to take notes and customers can e-sign their invoices after services. An NFC chip and Citrix cloud allows for fast data transfer when communicating with the back office and co-workers on site. Samsung KNOX 2.0 technology makes sure the data transfers are secure. The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is sold on Amazon and Samsung online.

Buyer’s Guide to Android Field Service Software

In the market for a cross-platform or cloud-based mobile app for your service business? Learn important tips, guiding questions, and to-dos in our free, educational guide to purchasing a mobile field service solution.

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