BlackBerry’s parent company RIM (Research In Motion Inc,) this month saw findings released by comScore which indicated that between October 2010 and January 2011 RIM lost –5.4% market share and in the process lost their market share dominance. As of January 2011 the US Smartphone market is dominated by Android.
According to comScore Android captured 31.2% which is a 7.7% increase on their October 2010 presence. RIM are relegated to second place with 30.4% whilst Apple remain third with 24.7% which showed a 0.01% marginal increase on October’s position(1). During Q4 of 2010 RIM, Microsoft and Palm lost a combined total of 7.8% which was shared between Android and Apple.
The ABI Research/Gartner Research findings in Q4 of last year indicated that Android was a sex-neutral purchase and was purchased predominantly by twenty+ age group. This is problematic, whilst Android’s new ‘lower-end’ phones will help in expanding Android’s already growing market share what Android is missing out on is enterprise-class smartphone computing capabilities.
Exchange Server and Lotus Notes are major parts of the SME/Corporate back-bone. Not that many businesses have emails with the Gmail suffix. There needs to be a functionality re-appraisal for Gingerbread/Honeycomb which will integrate great personal usability alongside corporate usage. This is the reason why RIM has the monopoly in enterprise-class smartphone usage. According to TNS Global; RIM have captured in aggregate terms, incorporating SME to Corporate 1-10000+ employee environments, a 67% market share whereas Android accounts for an aggregate total of 11%(2).
Microsoft have made sure that Microsoft Exchange Server works with BlackBerry’s, iPhones and Android phones along with their own Windows Mobile/7 variants too(3). IBM have also made sure their world-class enterprise software Lotus Notes is available for Android (4). So if it’s not just simply a communications barrier between corporate email software and Android phones then what is the commercial problem with Android?
The three main priorities for commercial users are; data control, platform support and cost effectiveness. These priorities are central to any IT department’s policy objectives in any FTSE or NYSE 100 company. The integrity of their information is of paramount importance and this is where open source could be problematic. RIM and iOS are closed-sourced Operating Systems which require direct approval from BlackBerry and Apple to work on their OS/Apps, but Google has an open-handset alliance which allows anyone to decompile the Android OS. This is a fear, but as earlier posts have stated the Android security market is growing and growing fast. Symantec, Norton and AVG have all released Android-based security software along with the support of Lotus Notes/Microsoft Exchange the support/security aspect is currently achievable. Finally, cost-effectiveness is central to any business organisation. The idea that they can get a return-on-investment from using Android smartphone technologies to make their staff/procedures more productive which will mean a greater ROI over revenues/profits. Therefore, the three main issues surrounding Android and enterprise-class computing have been fixed-up.
There is still work with Android 2.3 with enterprise-class computing, but it’s possible and enterprise-class Android smartphones are cheaper than anything RIM or Apple produce. Meaning cost-effectiveness, broad-based support and security and app integrity is achievable.
Android’s enterprise-class smartphone computing market-share will grow on the 11% in Q3/4 2010 as the explosive growth this year with tablet computing, which the multitude of Android devices being released this year will further complement Android’s market share, with enterprise-class organisations looking seriously at tablet computing as ways of increasing productivity and data manoeuvrability within strict data integrity structures. Cisco, Barclays and Wal*Mart have implemented Android into their ITC infrastructure without any major upheaval.
Android in 2011 will dominate the personal smartphone market but it has also now reached the age of maturity for commercial enterprise-class uptake to commence. This is an important part of Android’s expansion as an all-round Smartphone OS platform. The versatility of handsets, which will help with cost-benefit issues for companies, as Samsung, LG, Google and HTC have a myriad of phones available for different users, along with the increase in security software from the big 3, AVG, Symantec and Norton, which means the platform addresses the corporate-world’s versatility instructions and can now become successfully incorporated into Corporate ITC infrastructure. Yet, BlackBerry will continue to dominate the Corporate smartphone sphere in 2011, it is Apple’s overtures to the Corporate world that Android this year will overturn and see gigantic strides in enterprise-class Android smartphone usage.