Will Terminal Emulation Ever Go Away?

We are both delighted and confused by how much Terminal Emulation is still used on handheld devices in the warehouse. We also have lots of customers still running legacy AS/400’s or iSeries machines. We delight since we know how it works and can still support these customers.  But we are confused since this technology is now very old, so you have to wonder why it is still out there. 

Ivanti, our software partner for TE software products recently released an article about this very topic.  They point out in this article how robust these now very old software solutions can be. Also, how secure these applications can be since most hackers are not spending their time working on hacks for TE and OS400! Also, there are issues with the two other options for handheld computers which are thick applications or browser-based. 

Finally, we at EMP have noticed that our customers are more willing to let us help them with this technology than they were 10 or 15 years ago. The technology is far more complex now and the “set it and forget it” nature of Windows Mobile or CE with a TE client running on the device is no longer available. Back then, you could deploy a device and never touch it again until the battery needed to be replaced a few years later. The OS never changed and the TE client never needed to be updated. That is no longer the case. Even the hardened versions of Android from Zebra and Honeywell are updated frequently throughout the year and the applications also need to be updated.

Thick applications are better able to utilize the hardware options on the device, such as Bluetooth radios and bar code scanners. But they are more costly to develop and need to be written for a certain device, therefore cannot easily be ported over to another device or OS.

Browser-based applications are challenged when it comes to utilizing this same hardware on the handheld. They also are more of a security risk and are an easier target for hackers since they are more prevalent and easier to hack. But this is the more popular migration path from TE since it is written once for many device types and OS options.

Bottom line, we at EMP have the tools and expertise to help you keep up with your mobile computing needs. From recommending and deploying hardware to managing it in the field, we have a team of experts who can help. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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