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When choosing a rugged tablet for your industrial use, one of the major factors that you need to consider is the type of operating system. The choice of operating system for your rugged tablet will affect many things among them being, the user interface, security, performance and number of applications you can run at a time.

In addition, before settling on a particular operating system, you may want to consider the intended use of the rugged tablet and the available budget. The most common operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Android and Apple iOS.

Windows has been around for decades having being created back in the 1980s. Over the years, it has established itself strongly within the business and industrial arena.

Apple iOS is mostly used within the consumer markets although it has some limited uses in enterprises. This operating system is not a good fit for many industrial or field-based applications.

In addition, Apple devices do not function well with applications that require heavy barcode scanning without additional accessories.

Android operating system has a strong footing within the consumer market but it has gained popularity within the business and industrial space.

In this article, we are going to compare the two most commonly used operating systems, Windows and Android, in rugged tablets.

Advantages of Windows Operating System

Some of the reasons why Windows operating system has been a choice for many businesses are discussed below:

  1. High Computing Power

Windows rugged tablets have a higher computing power, more memory and a powerful processor. The advantage of this is that, you can run several applications at a time without compromising the overall performance of the tablet. This is very useful in an industrial set up where there are complex tasks being run and at the same time a lot of data is being processed.

The down side of high computing power is that the battery drains faster, however if the tablet is mounted in a docking station where constant supply of power this may not be a major issue.

  1. Device Compatibility

Windows devices in general tend to be compatible with most external devices as they have the necessary drivers to support such connections. This includes keyboards, mouse, printer or scanner.

This is convenient for users because they can acquire new devices as per their needs without worrying about their compatibility to the window devices. Windows devices also have several USB ports to connect to the external devices therefore you don’t have to rely on other wireless connection options such as Bluetooth.

  1. Mobile Device Management (MDM)

MDM basically involves monitoring and managing mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets used within an organization to enhance data security and productivity of employees. MDM is mostly implemented by use of a third-party software.

If you are using Windows, you will not require to use third party software for MDM because this functionality is incorporated within Windows. This goes a long way in lowering your operational costs.

  1. Variety of Options

Windows tablets come in different shapes, sizes and types. This means you have many options to choose from when looking for a tablet that meets your industrial needs.

Disadvantages of Windows Operating System

Windows operating system is not perfect, some of its disadvantages are as follows:

  1. High Price: Windows tablets that have adequate features to meet your industrial needs tend to be more expensive. It is possible to get a cheaper Windows tablet however, they may not have the same functionality as the more expensive ones.
  1. Limited Applications: Windows operating system has limited applications compared to Android. New applications may even fail to install or fail to run properly due to incompatibility with the operating system.

Advantages of Android Operating System

Android operating system has continued to gain traction in the rugged market over the years. This growth can be attributed to the following reasons.

  1. Affordability

The prices of Android tablets are relatively low compared to windows tablets with similar features and functionality. The low price of android tablets however does not mean that the tablets do not meet the necessary quality standards.

  1. Google Integration

Android tablets can easily be integrated with Google. The contents on Google play are also easily accessible with an Android tablet.

  1. Applications Variety

Accessibility to Google play store enables the user to download a variety of applications as and when required.

  1. Familiarity

Given that Android started off as a smartphone operating system, it is likely that most employees are familiar with it and can comfortably navigate without difficulties.

You should however consider locking down the device to single App with an MDM tool to ensure the employees do not make unauthorized changes and to minimize user distractions.

Disadvantages of Android Operating System

  1. Low Computing power: Android devices have low computing power and lower storage which means they are not the best if you are using a large size software or for running multiple applications at a time.

The bright side of their low computing power is that they tend to retain their batteries for long and can be used for a whole shift without running out of power.

  1. Requires a third-party MDM tool: Unlike windows tablets, Android tablets do not have an MDM tool embedded in the operating system. To manage the usage of the devices, an MDM tool will have to be purchased from a vendor which leads to additional costs.
  2. Limited periphery connection: Android tablets do not have the variety of drivers to support connection of external devices. The number of ports available in Android tablets is also limited therefore you may have to depend on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections which sometimes fail to function.


Both Windows and Android Operating systems have their pros and cons. The issue is not really about one Operating system being better than the other. There are some tasks or scenarios where one operating system will be best suited for but that does not mean the other one cannot function. Ultimately, the choice to use one operating system instead of the other is made by the company depending on what is best suited to meet their needs.