Smartphone technology has come an awful long way since it was first unleashed on the world back in 2007, when Apple launched its first iPhone. Since then the demand for Smartphones has outstripped almost anything else, and you’d have to go back to the launch of the Internet to find anything to rival the explosion that has taken place.
The Operating System Defines Usability
Now, in 2013, competition is still furious. But it’s as much about the operating system (OS) that drives the Smartphone, as the actual piece of hardware itself. The OS system affects people’s choice of Smartphone both in the private and the business sectors. But here in this article we’re taking a look specifically at the business sector, and which OS is dominant, and why.
The Field of Play
In terms of overall popularity, (both in the private and the business sectors), there are three main players. These are:
Apple’s iOS 4.3
Google’s Android 2.3
Windows Phone 7
Previous top player Blackberry has rather fallen by the wayside, although they still command about 30% of the market. The fact that their app releases total a mere 20,000, whereas Android have over 100,000 live apps and iOS have over 350,000 current apps says it all; especially when you bear in mind that Blackberry have been in the market for longer than anybody else. They’ve simply taken their eye off the ball, and they’ve paid the price.
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 down 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.