Mobile Devices: What Does It Mean To Be Rugged?

rugged mobile computerHere at, we often describe mobile devices as “rugged,” but what exactly does that mean? Since wireless technology is constantly being used in harsh environments, it’s important that they last through even the toughest of conditions. All mobile devices should have:

Physical Reliability
Accidents, such as spills, can happen, so physical reliability is crucial in mobile devices, especially when used in mission-critical environments.

Ruggedized Technology Categories
When looking for a truly rugged mobile device, be weary of claims such as “durable” and “semi-rugged.” Look for fully rugged laptops and handhelds that can withstand the toughest conditions.

International Testing Standards
Various government agencies and industry groups around the world have developed numerous performance and reliability standards, many of which require detailed testing procedures to ensure adherence. The most commonly followed ruggedness standards include the:

  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
  • United States Military

A good rugged device will endure a series of “torture tests” that include water intrusion, salt, fog, humidity, dust intrusion, drop testing, extreme temperatures, sun exposure, shock/crash testing, vibration, and low pressure. When you’re in a mission critical situation, make sure the equipment is indeed fully rugged, not semi-rugged, to ensure that it has undergone the above testing.

Based On: Motorola White Paper