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Honeywell next up to get a patent license from Microsoft, goes the Android handheld route

Honeywell next up to get a patent license from Microsoft, goes the Android handheld route
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|August 2, 2012 9:32 PM

Stop us if you've heard this one before: a company that wants to start using (or keep using) a Google OS strikes a patent licensing deal with Microsoft to avoid the legal barrage that will invariably follow if it says no. It's Honeywell singing the tune this time, and the company has reached an agreement that will let it use Android or Chrome OS on devices like a new edition of the Dolphin 7800 rugged handheld (shown here) without perpetually looking over its shoulder. Neither side is going into the specifics, although Microsoft has steered Honeywell into using its boilerplate copy about royalties trading hands. The truce won't help the prices of Honeywell devices; even so, it's good news for developers and customers who've been part of the company's official Android feedback program. We're still yearning for the day when we can get root access on a Honeywell thermostat.

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Honeywell Device Will be the First EDA Covered Under Microsoft's Patent Portfolio to Run Android and Chrome OS

FORT MILL, S.C., Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today unveiled its first enterprise digital assistant with an Android operating system (OS), offering mobile workers a device with the same platform that many use in their personal lives. The Dolphin 7800 Android is a rugged handheld computer with fast and accurate data capture and navigation capabilities, making it ideal for a delivery driver or sales representative whose work day involves multiple customer stops. Honeywell Scanning & Mobility and Microsoft Corp. also signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for Honeywell's products running on the Android or Chrome OS platforms. Although specific terms of the agreement are confidential, Microsoft will receive royalties from Honeywell under the agreement.

"Our core business strategy is to offer solutions to meet the needs of the software development community," said John Waldron, president of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. "To provide our customers with the best range of tools for success, we signed a license agreement with Microsoft that will allow Honeywell to offer the Android-based Dolphin 7800 to our network of partners around the world."

"We are pleased to have reached a patent agreement with Honeywell covering its Android devices under Microsoft's worldwide patent portfolio," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "Through this agreement Honeywell joins Microsoft's Android patent licensing program and demonstrates its responsible approach to the management of intellectual property."

What sets the Dolphin 7800 Android apart from other products are security features to give businesses peace of mind. Companies who issue the device to their employees have the ability to remotely secure a lost device. With Honeywell's Remote MasterMind™ 3.0 device management software, businesses also can enroll and configure devices, track company assets and enforce strong password protection.

"Many of our customers want to enjoy using their work devices as much as their personal mobile phones and tablets," said Taylor Smith, director of product management, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. "With the Android-based Dolphin 7800 we are able to offer that same user experience with the enterprise security that our customers expect from Honeywell."

To support the software community, Honeywell launched a Developer Program for Android™ OS compatible devices, giving independent software vendors (ISVs) and end-users a voice in the development of Honeywell products that will use the Android OS. Program participants had the opportunity to develop and test Android-specific applications on Honeywell's newest mobile device, prior to launch.

"We see demand for enterprise level, integrated GPS software solutions, like our CoPilot Live Professional, based on the Android platform. The Dolphin 7800 puts Honeywell in a strong position to capitalize on Android deployments within the enterprise," said Dan Popkin, vice president of business development of enterprise solutions at ALK Technologies.

"Our retail customers are closely aligned with the trends in the consumer device market, and at the same time, need performance and durability. These factors were drivers for us to participate in the Honeywell Developer Program for Android," said Gene Cornell, president, Cornell-Mayo Associates.

"Our ServiceACE application supports the Dolphin 7800 Android, with our TransportACE and RouteACE apps soon to follow, providing service, transportation, and consumer goods companies with a solution for streamlining their mobile operations," said Don Grust, CEO of Apacheta.

Honeywell will continue to offer and support the Dolphin 7800 with the Microsoft® Windows® Embedded Handheld 6.5 OS, and provide two options for end-users to support either Microsoft or Android deployments.