Hot Topic: The Mobile OS War Heats Up

By  Martha Walz — January 11, 2011

The mobile OS landscape has evolved in recent months with new versions of Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and iOS operating systems jockeying for space in the mobile world. Enterprise customers now have more options in their mobile OS, especially with the growing trend toward individual-liable devices. But which OS will come out on top?

Android 2.2 rolled out in June with a host of enterprise-friendly security features including password protection, remote wipe, and the ability for data backup and restoration. Next came BlackBerry 6, with its revamped look, universal search, and all-new Web browser. With Windows Phone 7, which launched in early November, Microsoft came up with a truly unique OS of its own, one that is not application-based, but based on its “live tiles.” Most recently iOS 4.2 was launched, a minimal upgrade for the iPhone itself, but a significant one for the iPad with the inclusion of folders and multitasking.

The infusion of tablets into the enterprise space will itself change the face of the mobile OS wars. Clearly iPad and iOS are leading the charge, but Android is close behind with both consumer and rugged models. Even BlackBerry has entered the tablet arena with its PlayBook, due out in the first quarter of 2011. The BlackBerry Tablet OS will be different from the BlackBerry smartphone OS and may eventually replace it.

As it stands today, BlackBerry is winning the mobile OS war in the enterprise, followed by iOS and Android. Looking ahead, ABI Research forecasts the world enterprise smartphone market in 2014 to be led by BlackBerry and Android, followed by Symbian, iOS, Windows, other Linux, and finally webOS.  

Here in North America, ABI predicts that BlackBerry will maintain its leadership position, with iOS and Android gaining ground. The iOS market share will increase more dramatically if Verizon starts carrying the iPhone, as is widely rumored. And with the addition of tablets into the fray, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will prevail.


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