Samsung who? Google’s recommended rugged phones are all from niche companies

By | 5th September 2018

  • Google’s Android Enterprise rugged phone recommendations are all devices from niche brands.
  • Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, LG, Sony, HTC, etc., are nowhere to be found on the list.
  • Google’s requirements to make the list of Enterprise recommended devices are exhaustive.


Earlier this year, Google launched its Android Enterprise Recommended program — a list of devices Google has vetted as being a good fit for enterprise customers. If a device meets Google’s exhaustive criteria, it gets added to the (relatively) short list.

That list currently includes most flagship devices from most of the major brands, including the Google Pixel 2 (naturally), the BlackBerry KEY2, the Sony Xperia XZ2, the Huawei P20 Pro, and the LG V30, among others.

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Today, Google launched a sub-category for Android Enterprise Recommended: rugged devices. However, you won’t find any major brands on that list.

The list of Android Enterprise rugged devices only features five brands, all of which are niche companies that primarily focus only on the rugged device market:

  • Zebra TC20, TC25, TC51, TC56, TC70X and TC75X
  • Honeywell CT40, CT60 and CN80
  • Sonim XP8
  • Point Mobile PM45
  • Datalogic Memor 10 (launching in October)

While it’s not surprising that something like the Huawei P20 Pro didn’t make the list of recommended rugged devices, it is quite illuminating that no major Android smartphone brand made the cut. This is a clear indication that the biggest brands are pretty much ignoring a growing market of devices that can withstand all manners of heavy use.

According to IDC, the Android rugged device market is expected to grow by 23 percent over the next five years.

If Samsung, LG, Sony, et al., were to try to make a phone that would land on Google’s list, these are the primary criteria that would have to be met:

  • 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

You can see the full list of criteria here.

We recently published an article about how peculiar it is that major brands aren’t releasing rugged devices that can withstand drops, deep water, heavy dust, etc. Maybe this new list from Google will light a fire under the major brands and they’ll start releasing heavy duty Android smartphones.

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