2018 Mobility 100: 30 Coolest Mobile Hardware Vendors
Across the business world, getting the job done increasingly means the effective use of mobile devices -- such as smartphones, tablets and highly portable laptops -- while on the go. There's a nearly endless number of choices in terms of mobile hardware offerings for solution providers to familiarize themselves with, though. It's often also helpful to have an understanding of best makers of components for these devices, as well as the leading accessories for getting the most out of the devices. To offer a window into this space, we've assembled a list of the 30 coolest vendors in mobile hardware to know about right now.
Chen, Jason, Acer
Jason Chen, CEO
Acer recently made headlines with the rollout of the first Chrome OS-powered tablet, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, a 9.7-inch tablet that will target the K-12 education market. Other highly portable device offerings released by Acer in the past year include the Spin 1, an 11.6-inch convertible Windows 10 notebook.
Lisa Su, CEO
Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.
AMD has been upping its game in the mobility space with Ryzen Mobile processors, which combine strong performance with AMD's signature graphics, such as the Radeon Vega series. Highly portable devices using Ryzen Mobile processors with Radeon Vega GPUs include Dell's Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1.
tim cook apple
Tim Cook, CEO
Headquarters: Cupertino, Calif.
Apple has been pushing hard to get its mobile devices into the enterprise through alliances with Accenture, which has launched a practice devoted to bringing iPhones and iPads to businesses, and HP, which has unveiled a reseller agreement with Apple. HP recently said it is expanding its Device-as-a-Service offering to include devices from Apple such as the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro.
Simon Segars, CEO
Headquarters: United Kingdom
ARM's microprocessor designs -- such as its Cortex-M and Cortex-A -- are licensed for use in most major smartphones, including Apple's iPhones and Samsung's Galaxy devices. The company's processor architecture is also now being deployed for the first time in Windows 10 devices, from manufacturers including HP and Lenovo, where the technology is helping to enable cellular connections and long battery life.
Jerry Shen, CEO
Asus is producing Windows 10 devices using ARM processor architecture, starting with the NovaGo convertible laptop. Asus is promising up to 22 hours of battery life for the laptop and calls the NovaGo "the world's first Gigabit LTE capable laptop," potentially offering faster download speeds than Wi-Fi.
Chet Pipkin, CEO
Headquarters: Playa Vista, Calif.
A maker of leading accessories for top smartphones such as Apple's iPhones and Samsung's Galaxy devices, Belkin has been focusing of late on expanding its wireless charger lineup, including with offerings for business. The new Belkin Boost Up lineup includes the Boost Up Bold, which charges at 10W, enabling faster charging than the company's prior 7.5W wireless chargers. Belkin is also introducing a commercial version of Boost Up for businesses such as restaurants and hotels.
Hock Tan, CEO
Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.
Semiconductor firm Broadcom is a leading supplier of chips used in the iPhone, with aggregate sales to Apple through all channels constituting more than 20 percent of Broadcom's revenue in fiscal 2017. The launch of the iPhone X toward the end of 2017 turned into a major windfall for Broadcom's wireless business.
Michael Dell, CEO
Headquarters: Round Rock, Texas
Dell is a major force in mobility for the business world with its line of Latitude notebooks. The lineup has been refreshed for 2018 with new features such as Microsoft's Precision touchpad, and new models include the convertible Latitude 7390 2-in-1. Dell also offers productivity-friendly features, such as strong performance and long battery life, in its consumer laptops such as the XPS 13, which was redesigned this year.
Bing Li, President
Headquarters: Toledo, Ohio
A designer and manufacturer of rugged tablets, such as the 10-inch MR-100, Estone Technology is focused on providing its rugged offerings to a number of vertical industries. Those include health care, transportation and logistics, field service and retail/hospitality.
Darius Adamczyk, CEO
Headquarters: Morris Plains, N.J.
Along with offering a variety of enterprise mobility services, Honeywell manufactures numerous devices of its own including rugged handheld computers for enterprises and small businesses. Those include the Dolphin CN80 Mobile Computer, which runs Android and offers scanning capabilities as well as a keypad and 4.2-inch touch screen.
Dion Weisler, CEO
Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.
HP's recent mobility-friendly introductions for the commercial sector include the EliteBook x360 1020 G2, a thin-and-light 12.5-inch convertible in HP's premium notebook lineup. Meanwhile, with the recently introduced fifth generation of EliteBook 800 models, HP has added a range of high-end productivity and security features from its premium commercial notebooks. And a refresh of HP's ZBook mobile workstations this year included enhancements such as a thinner body and faster processors.
IGEL North America
Jed Ayres, CEO
Headquarters: San Francisco
IGEL's offerings include the UD Pocket, a universal desktop thin client that is the size of a paper clip and aimed at enabling productivity with mobile workforces. The UD Pocket allows users to boot from IGEL Universal Desktop or the local operating system on a laptop or other compatible endpoint. The micro client device connects to the internet via the IGEL Cloud Gateway, then automatically integrates into the company's Universal Management Suite.
Brian Krzanich, CEO
Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.
Intel has launched two series of its eighth-generation Core processors -- Kaby Lake R and Coffee Lake -- with improvements to processing speed and battery efficiency. One notable change with the eighth generation is that the second-tier Core i5 chips now feature four cores, compared with two cores previously. Meanwhile, some Coffee Lake Core i7 processors are coming with up to six cores. The eighth-gen Intel Core processors are now widespread in commercial notebooks from HP, Dell and Lenovo.
Boris Elisman, CEO of parent company ACCO Brands
Headquarters: San Mateo, Calif.
Along with continuing to specialize in mobile device accessories -- such as locks, chargers and cases for tablets and laptops -- Kensington over the past year has introduced special offerings for Microsoft's business-friendly Surface line of devices. They include a keyed cable lock for the Surface Pro (covering the latest Surface Pro along with the Surface Pro 3 and 4) and a locking bracket made for securing the Surface Book laptop.
Yang Yuanqing, CEO
Headquarters: China and Morrisville, N.C.
Lenovo's mobility offerings cover the full spectrum from highly portable laptops to tablets to smartphones (through the company's Motorola arm). Major launches this year have included the debut of refreshed versions of three premium ThinkPad X1 devices -- the X1 Carbon, the X1 Yoga convertible and the X1 Tablet. Lenovo also introduced its first Windows device running an ARM processor, the Miix 630 tablet, which promises up to 20 hours of battery life and high-speed LTE connectivity.
Seong-Jin Jo, CEO
Headquarters: South Korea
Though perhaps best known in the mobility space for its Android smartphones, such as the V30 and the forthcoming G7 ThinQ, LG also offers a range of Android tablets in its G Pad series. Meanwhile, in terms of laptops, the company recently refreshed its LG Gram notebook that weighs just above 2 pounds but still manages to provide up to 20 hours of battery life on a charge.
Bracken Darrell, CEO
Logitech's line of accessories for mobile devices includes keyboards for the iPad and other tablets, a stand for the iPad Pro, tablet cases and even a keyboard for typing on a smartphone. Recent product introductions by the company have included the Logitech Crayon, a digital pencil made for Apple's latest iPad and aimed at student use in classroom settings.
Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO
Headquarters: Boise, Idaho
Micron Technology produces NAND flash memory and DRAM technologies for devices such as tablets and smartphones, including DDR4 memory, which provides DRAM-level performance with NAND persistent storage for highly portable devices. The company this year unveiled new 3-D NAND storage products aimed at enabling features on smartphones such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Jensen Huang, CEO
Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.
Nvidia is known as a leading producer of discrete graphics processors that are used in devices including gaming laptops. The company's GeForce GTX series of graphics cards include the GTX 1080 (featured in laptops such as the Razer Blade Pro and Acer Predator 17) and GTX 1070 (used in the Alienware 15 and 17, and in the HP Omen 17, among others).
Pete Lau, CEO
One of the newer smartphone manufacturers on the scene, OnePlus has begun to build a reputation with devices such as the OnePlus 5T. The smartphone features a customized version of Android (OxygenOS), a dual camera, fast-charging capabilities and up to 8 GB of RAM for enabling strong performance.
Kazuhiro Tsuga, President
For verticals that depend upon devices that can withstand tough conditions, Panasonic is a leading maker of rugged devices such as laptops and tablets. The latest version of Panasonic's rugged detachable laptop, the Toughbook 20, offers features such as an optional second battery (for enabling up to 17 hours of battery life) and LTE connectivity.
Steve Mollenkopf, CEO
Headquarters: San Diego
Qualcomm serves as one of the most central players in mobile device technology, with its Snapdragon processors helping to provide the major performance that smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Google Pixel 2 are known for. Qualcomm's latest top-of-the-line chip, the eight-core Snapdragon 845, offers a speed boost as well as enhanced battery savings over past processors.
‍Jeff Carnevali, CEO
RAM Mounts is a top provider of mobile device mounting solutions that are ruggedized for in-vehicle usage. The company's mounts -- including for tablets, phones and laptops -- are particularly in demand in the commercial trucking industry due to new requirements around use of electronic logging devices. RAM Mounts counts Samsung among its major partners and has specially developed three mounts for use with Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active2 rugged tablet.
Ki Nam Kim, CEO
Headquarters: South Korea
Samsung ramped up its push for business customers this year with the launch of an Enterprise Edition of the new Galaxy S9 flagship smartphone, which is sold unlocked by channel partners. The Enterprise Edition S9 allows for remote provisioning and configuration of devices, easy installation of software and policy updates, as well as simplified deployment thanks to enterprise firmware over-the-air. Samsung also debuted a new tablet, the Galaxy Tab Active2, that offers a range of rugged features and special capabilities for a number of industry verticals. The Galaxy Tab Active2 will only be sold by IT channel partners, making it the first LTE-enabled tablet from Samsung that's exclusive to the channel.
Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO
Sony has focused its Xperia line of mobile devices on the smartphone segment, with the launch of the Xperia XZ2 flagship as one prominent introduction this year. The phone features a 5.7-inch FHD+ display with reduced top and bottom bezels from previous models, and supports HDR content along with Sony's "Dynamic Vibration System" (which gives vibratory feedback when playing games and watching movies).
Li Dongsheng, Chairman
While the company is best known for its TV lineup, TCL is the current manufacturer of the BlackBerry brand of smartphones. Those include the BlackBerry KEYone, which contains a physical keyboard that can do more than just type. Users can program keys to become shortcuts to certain contacts and apps, and the keyboard has some of the responsiveness of a trackpad, as well.
Nobuaki Kurumatani, CEO
Along with offering laptops for business, such as the highly portable 2-in-1 Portege X20W, Toshiba has been looking to break new ground in the realm of mobile devices for business with the dynaEdge AR Smart Glasses. The glasses, which are the first to be powered by Windows 10, are aimed for augmented reality use in the enterprise with features such as document viewing, alerts, live video calls and photo/video capture.
Paul Travers, CEO
Headquarters: West Henrietta, N.Y.
Vuzix recently launched its new Blade augmented reality glasses for business. The device includes a display that's overlaid on top of the real world, with information such as directions, alerts or patient data. The glasses stand out from other AR devices with support for Amazon's Alexa digital assistant, which can be used to control the information being displayed on the device's overlaid display.
Tom Wilkinson, Acting CEO
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Building on the launch of the XSlate R12, a rugged Windows 10 tablet with Bluetooth keyboard, Xplore this year launched a pair of rugged 2-in-1 tablets. They are the XBook B10, which runs Windows, and the XBook D10, which runs Android. The 10-inch tablets weigh 2.4 pounds and include capabilities such as use with gloves and a spill-resistant keyboard.
Anders Gustafsson, CEO
Headquarters: Lincolnshire, Illinois
Zebra Technologies specializes in offering rugged mobile computing devices, such as handheld barcode scanners. The company's 3600 Ultra-Rugged Series includes the LI3678-ER, a cordless scanner that the company says is "practically indestructible" and can capture barcodes from as far as 56 feet.