Telematics Vendors Migrate to Popular Mobile Operating System
The mobile device revolution has dramatically altered telematics and mobile communications in the trucking industry as technology suppliers have introduced an ever-expanding array of business applications for smartphones and tablets. But the change didn’t stop there. Even traditional in-cab terminals with fixed-mount displays — which remain popular with many fleets — have been migrating to Android, the operating system behind much of the consumer mobile device market. This shift ultimately will give carriers using hard-wired systems access to the same types of Android-based applications that are available on handheld smart devices, technology vendors said. Although more consumer mobile devices run on Android than any other mobile operating system on a worldwide basis, Apple’s iOS holds the lead in the U.S. market with about a 55% share, compared with 45% for Android, according to web traffic analysis tool StatCounter.
But Android, which is developed by Google, has garnered a higher level of support from trucking’s technology suppliers.
Telematics vendors said Android is more open to app developers, whereas Apple requires developers to complete certain steps to have their apps certified to run on iOS.
The rise of Android in trucking telematics is part of a larger trend toward mobile technology in the business world. Technology is used not just in vehicles, but for obtaining signatures and performing other tasks outside the truck cab, said Kevin Aries, global product success leader for Verizon Connect. “Fixed-mount or in-dash devices don’t offer that mobility,” he said. “Drivers and workers need technology in the palm of their hands.” Omnitracs, another major supplier of mobile communications systems for trucking, also has been moving toward. Android. The company plans to convert its flagship in-cab system, the Intelligent Vehicle Gateway, or IVG, to the Android operating system as it converges its fixed-mount and mobile device-based product lines under its Omnitracs One platform.