Android is a bestseller with 69.7 percent of the mobile market, according to the latest figures from Gartner. But despite recent efforts by marketers to attract business customers, a new report found that Android’s market share declined in the fourth quarter.
In the most recent report from Good Technology, iOS landed on top of the enterprise market with 77 percent of all activations, from 71 percent in 2011 to 77 percent in Q4 2012, and capturing eight of the 10 points to the most popular devices.
Android device activations fell by 6.3 percent year-over-year with a 22.7 percent share of the market, while Windows Phone came in a distant third with 0.5 percent of the activations. In addition, the report found that the iPhone 5 was the most popular device in Q4 2012, representing 32 percent of all activations in the quarter.
The most popular Android smartphone to date, the Galaxy S III had a share of 6 percent. Although the iPad is still in the lead with an unprecedented 93.2 percent of activations, Android tablets are gaining momentum, from 2.7 percent to 6.8 percent for all activations of tablets during 2012. The most popular Android tablets for business users are the Galaxy Tab, Droid Xyboard, Galaxy Note, Eee Pad Transformer, Kindle Fire and Xoom.
In the five most frequently activated devices, the iPhone 5 ranks first, followed by the iPhone 4S (20 percent), iPhone 4 (14 percent), iPad 3 (11.7 percent) and iPad 2 (7.7 percent).
Can Android-smartphones gain the enterprise market?
A new study from iPass and MobileIron found that the iPhone now enjoys IT support at 74 percent of enterprises, up from 52 percent a year ago. BlackBerry is now supported in 62 percent of enterprise companies, down from 77 percent the previous year. Android-based smartphones took third place among IT managers at 61 percent, up from 48 percent a year ago. At this rate Android is set to outpace BlackBerry to claim the No. 2 spot by next year.
But according to research firm IDC, in Q3 2012, 75 percent of smartphones shipped globally were Android-based, while only 15 percent of smartphones shipped that quarter were iPhones. Yet, the iPhone is the device of choice in the enterprise.
Historically, the corporate IT-departments themselves chose devices and platforms that have the desire and ability to maintain. These measures have long served as an artificial barrier that protects PCs based on the Intel, Microsoft Windows operating system, and shields Internet Explorer from competition in this segment.
However, over the last 10 years, the situation has changed in the corporate market – there were several attempts to open it to new platforms and devices. Among them is the formation of Apple’s devices as an alternative to Microsoft. While many IT-units continues to respect and use Microsoft server and browser-based operating system products, Windows Mobile has made relatively little headway.
Apple used the Exchange Server system to enter into the corporate market, and has not stopped. The company is also working to secure mobile development platform that meets the requirements of business users, as well as adding support for enterprise VPN-networks and proxy servers.
Android lacks business features
Despite the fact that Google tried to quickly take advantage of the formula for success, Google is not making it a priority to add solid support functions that are important to business users. Android’s platform still lacks the ability to connect to the network standard IPSec VPN, and Exchange Server support. Even more important is the fact that Android lacks strong support of management tools that are used by corporations for monitoring, control and monitoring of the desired policy.
The fragmentation of Android means that managing Android-devices is almost as difficult as it would be to create custom software that runs on a wide range of Android-devices. This means that every brand that produces equipment based on Android puts out a product that works differently, supports different management functions and implement them in their own way, depending on what technical data they have. These differences significantly slow down the deployment of software updates and patches, and are a real danger to enterprises.
BYOD forcing Android into work
The BYOD phenomenon powers the adoption of Apple’s devices trend towards having just a single mobile device. While RIM’s BlackBerry market has led the company in recent years, gradually the Apple iPhone is increasing its market share. In particular, the viability of Android to the BYOD market is mainly challenged by the explosive growth of Android malware.
Meanwhile, Microsoft and RIM are establishing important changes to Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms respectively, in order to increase their attractiveness for business. The return of BlackBerry and Windows Phone may be a wonderful thing for those business professionals who are still hanging on to these platforms. Both the platforms already have long-standing relationships and legacy offerings with business users.
Does Android need the enterprise to succeed?
Android has been a massive hit with consumers. Google’s mobile platform dominates the smartphone market with a 75 percent global share. Part of the reason behind the success is that consumers often buy low to midrange devices.
If the company wants to further develop its success, it is necessary to focus outside the consumer market and further develop its play for the enterprise.
With the rise of BYOD and considering the large enterprise market, Android is a serious platform for IT managers to consider. IDC estimated that 15.1 million individual users would take their Android devices to work this year.
Therefore, Google and its partners are trying to be more attractive and relevant to the business market. One of the initiatives called, “Google Play Private Channel,” allows the creation of unique shops in Google Play to give companies the ability to distribute among employees’ internally developed apps.
Google has allowed its producer partners to develop their own solutions to control the devices to support specific initiatives. Samsung, the biggest of Android devices provider, is rolling out Samsung Knox, a new feature that lets you divide your phone for work and personal life (much like BB 10 BlackBerry Balance feature). Knox is available on any SAFE-certified phone and right now that’s the popular Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II.
Android was developed as a serious competitor in the mobile market. In the corporate sector, the growth is due to the increasing popularity of sharing among users. The forward-looking responses hint at Android’s continued rise and greater enterprise acceptance in this vast space.