Android's Dominance Doesn't Tell the Whole Smartphone Market Story

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-08-16 Print this article Print
Android Dominance

The facts are clear. Android is beating all comers globally. But that may not matter to you if you have the freedom to use the smartphone of choice at work as well as at home. Apple has plenty of support in business and consumer areas for its devices. Meanwhile, the iPhone sells well in most developed nations, even if it's not outselling Android.

For your business, what really matters is having access to phones that provide the app support, the security and the business integration you need. This is less related to the phone's OS than it is to the manufacturer's commitment to business and, specifically, your business.

At Apple the support is broad and it's deep. Along with those millions of consumer apps, there's support for a wide variety of verticals, there's excellent security and strong manufacturer support for growth. This means that if an iPhone meets your needs now, it will probably continue to meet your needs in the future.

BlackBerry has settled into a niche that meets demands for the best security available in a mobile device. This means until some other platform comes along that has the strong level of protection that BlackBerry has, the company is guaranteed to have a place at the enterprise table. It may not be a big place, but it's one that won't be lost.

It's not exactly clear what the future holds for Microsoft. Windows Phone—and to an extent Windows tablets—occupy a niche that seems solidly aimed at the enterprise, but without the level of security offered by BlackBerry.

On the other hand, Microsoft has its Office apps that are a selling point. But will Windows Phone continue to occupy a place in the enterprise? That's an interesting question that doesn't have a certain answer right now.

Android's dominance isn't as strong in the enterprise, however. Much of what sells with Google's operating system are phones that are inexpensive and limited in their capabilities. They are phones for people who need essential communications, apps and entertainment, but they don't have the vast array of features you see on today's high-end Android devices.

It's going to be hard for Apple and BlackBerry to aim for the bottom as Android vendors are doing. Microsoft is going to try, but who knows what its level of success will be. For Apple to make up for its relatively high price it must innovate in ways that go beyond a larger screen or a motion processor.

BlackBerry needs to hope it can retain the upper hand in security. The small three companies can stay relevant, but not without working hard to maintain and expand their market positions.


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