Earlier this year, Google launched the Android Enterprise Recommended program to certify phones and tablets for enterprise environments. The company is now adding a “Rugged Devices” category with more stringent hardware and software requirements.

The new “Rugged Devices” category compliments the existing “Knowledge Works Devices,” with Google targeting “tougher environments” like field services, warehouses, retail stores, and manufacturing plants. Besides “harsh conditions,” devices need to “remain up-to-date over deployments that often last five years or more.”

This category is designed to give confidence to the growing number of companies that are putting these dedicated devices to work, and make it easier to identify devices that are built to handle demanding workloads over a longer device lifetime. Just as we did with the initial Android Enterprise Recommended launch for knowledge worker devices, we’re validating rugged devices against an elevated set of standards and best practices specifically relevant for enterprise customers.

This program comes as Android is “on pace to become the largest rugged OS by shipments next year, growing at 23 percent (Compound Annual Growth Rate) over the next five years, more than 5x the rate of the rugged device market overall,” according to IDC research.

New “elevated” hardware requirements include drop-testing and ingress (water and dust) protection, while security patches have been extended from two years on regular devices to five.

  • Minimum hardware specifications for Android 7.0+ devices
  • Delivery of Android security updates within 90 days of release from Google, for a minimum of five years
  • Certified for ingress protection
  • Rated for drop testing
  • Support for bulk deployment of devices including Android zero-touch enrollment
  • Support for at least one additional major OS release

A handful of well-known, but niche, devices have already been certified:

  • Zebra TC20, TC 25, TC51, TC56, TC70X and TC75X
  • Honeywell CT40, CT60 and CN80
  • Sonim XP8
  • Point Mobile PM45
  • Datalogic Memor 10 (launching in October)

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