A question we get at Ei is, “Why don’t you make your software work on Android or iOS?” With mobile platforms like iOS and Android MOS (Android) moving past the realm of cellular phones and into the realm of tablets and desktop electronics, the question is one that every software development company has to consider. Ei recognizes the power of mobile platforms, and we are currently developing a mobile application of our own for Android and iOS called Ei Safety™ which will be available on the Play Store in a few months (follow our twitter @Env_int for updates). However, our core field software, EiMOC™ and FieldTech Toolbox™, will remain, for the time being, exclusively on the Windows platform with our hardware of choice being the Microsoft Surface Pro 3™ (shown below in an intrinsically-safe case provided by our partner, Xciel, Inc.)
There were many factors that influenced this decision, but the biggest one, by far, was hardware. Take a look at the table below. This table summarizes the hardware specifications of the leading intrinsically safe tablets.
Why do we chose the Surface Pro?
- Bigger and more defined screen
The significant larger screen size of the MS Surface Pro 3™ allows images, such as piping and instrumentation drawings (P&IDs) to be viewed comfortably without straining the user’s eyes. Furthermore, it allows all buttons to be of a comfortable and reasonable size, allowing them to be pressed with either a stylus or with your finger. The resolution allows for even small items on the screen to be seen clearly, without the need for excessive zooming.
- More Storage
Beaten only by the iPad Air® for the base model, the data storage capabilities of the Surface Pro 3™ are important when doing fieldwork. Having a high amount of storage allows large amounts of data to be stored on the tablet while doing fieldwork, including database backups, P&IDs, and photos.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3™ beats the other tablets soundly when it comes to Random Access Memory (RAM). RAM is used to keep applications open and running smoothly. The MS Surface Pro 3™ has nearly the double the RAM that the next best tablet, the iPad Air® has. This comes in handy when running certain basic applications alongside our software, such as Microsoft Word, or OneNote. Furthermore, the more RAM, the more smoothly any application will run, and the less the operator needs to worry about performance in the field.
- USB Port
Most importantly, the MS Surface Pro 3™ is the only tablet above that can receive and send data via USB drives. This allows for increased mobility of data and increased capacity for storage. Whereas the other tablets on this list require a direct connection, either wired or through Bluetooth, to connect to a desktop computer, a MS Surface Pro 3™ does not have this limitation. Files can be stored on a flash drive and shuttled from a PC to the tablet without the two devices ever needing to be in the same room. A technician, for instance, can radio in for any digital file to be brought to them while they are in the field on a device that weighs about as much a paperclip.
Another thing worth mentioning is the universality of Microsoft devices. Windows is compatible with almost everything. Businesses big and small rely on the Windows operating system. By developing on Windows, we’ve picked a platform that won’t become outdated anywhere in the near future, unlike Android and iOS that get competitors by the day, (Tizen, Ubuntu Touch, and Windows Phone just to name a few).
At Ei we’re committed to giving our customers the best short-term and long-term value for their money, and we believe that developing on the MS Surface Pro 3™ is a realization of that commitment. Find out more about our MS Surface Pro 3™ -compatible software and newest innovation by visiting our products page for EiMOC™: http://www.env-int.com/products/eimoc/