Android Ascendant In Enterprises?

By by Andrew Borg, Senior Research Analyst, Wireless & Mobility, Aberdeen Group — January 26, 2010

The Four Pillars Of Enterprise Mobility, Part 1

This series of four articles on the key findings of Aberdeen Group's recent report Enterprise Mobile Strategies 2010: More Mobility, Same Budget is available exclusively for Mobile Enterprise Magazine. For readers of the magazine and members of its online community, the full report is available for complimentary download through March 5, 2010 (a $399 retail value).
 
In Part 2, we discuss The Invasion Of The Employee-Owned Devices. In Part 3, we explore Managing Chaos: Device Diversity Is Here. In the final Part 4 of this series, to be posted shortly, we'll look at the emergence of a new class of mobile application that is changing how the enterprise goes to work: Pillar Four -- New Mobile Applications that Put Mobility to Work
 
Pillar One -- Heterogeneity: the Explosion of Mobile Platforms
 
It wasn't so long ago that there were only three mobile phone platforms robust enough for business use: RIM's BlackBerry, Windows Mobile/CE (now Windows Phone), and (first Nokia's, now Symbian Foundation's) Symbian OS. With the launch of Apple's iPhone 3G in June 2008, the world of business smartphones began to change.
 
With smartphone capabilities no longer imprisoned by a paltry mobile Internet experience and a confined set of preloaded software applications chosen by the wireless carriers, the iPhone unleashed enormous creativity among developers, and a hunger by consumers and businesspeople alike to customize and personalize their mobile experience.
 
Aberdeen began tracking the adoption of iPhone and the enterprise in the fall of 2007. In November 2007, 15% of enterprise survey respondents reported they were currently using iPhone; by August 2008 that number had risen to 34%. In the most recent survey of over 218 organizations in December 2009, iPhone adoption had risen to 49%
 
BlackBerry's current use at 74% and Windows' use at 63% show their dominant position due to their historical legacy: however, note that the new platforms are on the ascendancy. iPhone penetration has already far exceeded that of Symbian. With Android and Palm (including both the Treo's OS plus the new webOS) both at 14%, this demonstrates increased end-user interest in new platforms. Even more telling are the respondents' plans for the next 12 months: only 3%, 7%, and 6% plan on investing in the legacy platforms of BlackBerry, Windows, and Symbian respectively.
 
This could be a warning sign to RIM that their enterprise momentum has slowed considerably, and to Microsoft that the market is not yet convinced that they have a coherent mobile strategy. And although SymbianOS still has dominant world market share of all types of phones, their smartphone market share in the enterprise has lost nearly all of its momentum.
 
At the same time, newcomers Apple and Google are looking very good for the next 12 months. iPhone at 14%, and Android at 26% are coming on strong. At almost 2x iPhone, this is a phenomenal outlook for Android. Palm, at 4%, has yet to convince the market that webOS is a platform for future investment.
 
In any case, enterprise IT now has to consider at least six mobile platforms for smartphones; not to mention recent announcements by Nokia of their Maemo platform, and Intel of their Moblin platform for Netbooks and other mobile devices.
 
End-user demand for IT support of the wide range of mobile platforms is putting pressure on the organization to expand internal capabilities at the same time that there are corporate imperatives to cut costs. Despite the wishes of IT to consolidate to fewer mobile platforms for efficiency and ease of support, it appears inevitable that the mobile enterprise world will be heterogeneous for the foreseeable future.
 
Next week, in Part 2 of this series, we'll look at Pillar Two -- Managing Risk: the Invasion of Employee-Liable Devices.
 
Andrew Borg is Senior Research Analyst, Wireless & Mobility Practice at Aberdeen Group, Boston.

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