10 Reasons Android Can Beat BlackBerry in the Smartphone Race

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-08-04 Print this article Print

News Analysis: The Google Android mobile OS is making its way to the enterprise. Research In Motion is still leading the pack. But Google is bringing a lot of potential advantages to the table that may allow it to gradually erode RIM's lead. Google is sure to press these advantages, giving Android a shot at beating RIM in the corporate smartphone space.

Recent reports have suggested that future Android-based mobile devices will soon target the enterprise. Google plans to have more enterprise-friendly applications available to users and to integrate Google Docs more effectively into its phones. It's a worthwhile vision and if done properly, I think Android can beat BlackBerry smartphones in the corporate space.

At this point, such a prediction will probably cause some to seriously question how that result would be possible. Right now, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is the leader in the smartphone market by a wide margin. Of its competitors, only Apple has been able to significantly attract corporate customers. And although Windows Mobile smartphones once held a place of prominence in the enterprise, poor software and awful hardware has made Windows Mobile an also-ran. Meanwhile, Android has yet to make a mark in the enterprise. For the most part, Android has tried to appeal to consumers.

But if we are to believe Google's mobile director, Andy Rubin, it won't stay that way much longer.

Speaking to Reuters, Rubin said he believes that the "enterprise will be a good focus" for Google in the future.

He's right. And although his company is far behind the leader in that space, I think it has what it takes to beat RIM in the business world. Here's why:

1. Android Market
Applications can literally transform the enterprise. A variety of apps designed specifically for business users could lead to a serious improvement for Android in the corporate world. Granted, RIM has an app store as well, but so far, Android has more than twice as many apps that are, at least right now, far more appealing. It's one of Android's major advantages. And it can't be overlooked.

2. Android is open source
We can't discount the fact that Android is open source. RIM is the only company that controls the BlackBerry, which means only its decision makers decide what companies will get. Android allows any vendor to create its own Android experience. If Motorola listens to corporate customers who want tethering, push e-mail and several other features, it can build those features into a phone designed specifically for those users. Vendors can do what they want, how they want. That's powerful. And it's awfully appealing to business customers.

3. Remember Chrome OS
Google's Chrome OS might first start out as an operating system for netbooks, but I don't think it will take too much time before the company expands its offering. Android would seem like a natural mobile partner for Chrome OS. Imagine doing work using Chrome OS, transferring it to Android and going about the day. That should appeal to several companies.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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