We work with companies of all sizes who are dealing with the end of life for Windows Mobile and Embedded CE. Changing your enterprise mobile OS isn’t something anyone takes lightly, but the lack of support for these Microsoft operating systems makes the decision to move absolutely critical. Still, with the deadline looming, some businesses haven’t shifted. CMAC’s question is, why are you waiting and what is that costing you?

“We’re rewriting our software.”

Rewriting Software - Windows Mobile

This is a common reason, but it’s not one that should prevent you from making progress. If you’ve developed a comprehensive strategy to guide your company through the transition from Microsoft to another OS, then you can probably see that there’s a lot more planning and execution to accomplish.

While you’re waiting for the developers to finish re-writing your primary (and probably secondary) apps to be compatible with a different OS, have you evaluated your legacy devices? Did you determine those that need to be retired along with Windows Mobile/CE? While you don’t need to part with all of your legacy devices, you should use this time to conduct a thorough assessment of the value that your technology is providing. The effort could save you both time and money.

Use this waiting period for the apps to examine what you need from your hardware—now and in the long run. If your devices are more than a few years old, you’re missing out on advances that will increase operational efficiency. That means what you’re using is gaining a higher total cost of ownership. A rugged device has a 1% failure rate in the first year. In the fourth year, that rate rises to 8%. That seems like a small number, but it contributes to a much higher cost of ownership. For every percentage point in the failure rate, add 5% to your TCO. That means, in year four, the device failure rate has added 35% to your TCO.

There comes a point when holding onto legacy devices to save money does the opposite.


“The choice is tough.”

Enterprise Operating Systems - Windows Mobile

Here are your choices for a mobile enterprise operating system:

  1. Stick with Windows Mobile/CE and just accept the lack of security updates. That choice leaves your network vulnerable to security breaches. The average cost of a data breach is $148 per record and $7.91 million for an incident, plus the loss of customer confidence.
  2. Move over to Windows 10. If you’re a devotee of Microsoft, you can easily migrate to this version, but that support is short-lived, too. There just isn’t a long-term commitment here.
  3. Choose iOS. Apple is renowned for the security of its closed platform. Bear in mind, however, that this same closed platform limits the number of apps available. The compatible devices are also less diverse than your options for Android or Windows hardware
  4. Migrate to Android. Before you dismiss Android because of the perceived security issues, you should know that the advances have taken this open platform far beyond where it used to be. Zebra offers a fortified Android— Mobility Extensions (Mx)—for enterprise use that includes government-grade AES-256 encryption. Then, add in the benefit of a broad network of developers and apps, the global dominance of Android adoption, and the equally expansive choice of compatible devices. The argument in favor of Android as your mobile enterprise OS becomes even stronger.

“There’s still time.”

Still Time - Windows Mobile

Technically, that’s true. Support for Windows CE ends this June. Windows Embedded Handheld will lose support in January 2020.

There’s time, but not much.

You need to plan for the migration so that you avoid workflow interruption. That means building out an OS migration strategy, budget, and timeline. If you haven’t begun, you’re already at risk of hitting the Windows end-of-life before you’re ready to start up with a new OS.

There’s no need to procrastinate. Leave the strategy planning and deployment to CMAC. We offer a full range of services, expertise, and product knowledge that will navigate the OS migration with ease. Put the challenge on us.