Guest writer Kerry Butters writes for Microbyte on the top smartphone players.
Smartphone technology has come a long way since 2007, when Apple launched its first iPhone. Since then demand has skyrocketed and competition is furious.
The Operating System Defines Usability
Phones are now as much about the operating system (OS) as they are the hardware, especially as we see more businesses rolling out smartphones to their employees as the perfect way to keep employees connected and working optimally. Here we look at the major smartphone players in the business world and what the different operating systems offer.
The Field of Play
In terms of overall popularity, there are three main players:
Apple’s iOS 4.3
Google’s Android 2.3
Windows Phone 7
Even though Blackberry commands about 30% of the market, it’s the systems that offer the most apps that are doing well. Blackberry’s apps total 20,000, which is only a fifth of Android’s 100,000+ live apps and an even smaller fraction of Apple’s 350,000.
To Meddle or Not to Meddle
In terms of the private sector and the business sector, users have slightly different priorities. For the individual, at a social level, it’s all about flexibility and having the ability to customise their Smartphone. The leader in this segment of the market is Android. Although they don’t have as many apps as iOS, they do give users more ability to customise their Smartphones than any other OS provider. But from a business point of view, this can present problems. IT departments would rather all personnel operated from a level playing field, the problem is that when you give staff the wherewithal to meddle – meddle, they will. So from this angle many businesses prefer iOS.
App Quality Control
Apps present another sector of the market where there is a pronounced difference between the private and business sectors. In the battle of the App, iOS are clearly winning the war, with over 350,000. But it’s actually not the quantity that matters, it’s the quality. Apple’s philosophy is that you can only download apps from the Apple Store. They and they alone monitor quality and suitability. Windows 7 have only got around 9,500 Apps, so they’re not really serious contenders, whereas Android have over 100,000. However, the problem with Android apps is that they can be downloaded from many different sources, bringing quality and suitability into question. Anyone who runs a business doesn’t like such a “wild card” marketplace. It allows uses the freedom to download Apps that may not be suitable, and may not be in accordance with the company’s work ethic. So in the war of the App, businesses will tend to come down on the side of iOS.
Integration with Other Applications and Programs
This is the one area where the Windows Phone 7 stands out, and that is because so many users operate Microsoft Windows on the computers. Yet the Apple Mac is becoming more popular, especially with people in the design world, and people who are into photographs and graphics. There’s also a little something called iTunes which millions of people use. So although the argument regarding integration is much more open, many businesses still tend to go with iOS because of its familiar functionality and the popular of its quality apps.
Until recently iOS was clearly the market leader when it came down to security, with its ability to trace a lost Smartphone and wipe its memory. Add to this the stringent process that Apple employs when Apps are developed and the difficulty in hacking an iOS device, and this makes iOS a winner. Android is somewhat addressing this, but the open source nature of the platform leads to many worries for IT departments.
The use of Mobile Device Management systems (MDM) in the enterprise is opening up choice, especially with regard to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), so this is giving users the opportunity to use any device they choose. For businesses, it’s then all about creating clear policies about how devices can be accesses and Apps downloaded when it comes to accessing the business network.
The Clear Front Runner
When it comes to the business world’s favourite Smartphone operating system there’s no doubt about it – Apple’s iOS is the clear front runner.
Kerry Butters is writing on behalf of Broadband Genie, the UK broadband, smartphone and tablet comparison website.