Apple’s iOS Maintains Enterprise Edge Over Android

iOS vs Android

Android may have done much in the past year to catch up to, or even surpass Apple’s presence in many smartphone markets, but there’s one area where Apple’s mobile OS still has a strong lead: the enterprise. According to a new report, iOS still maintains more than double the rate of new enterprise activations when compared to Android.

The report (PDF), from enterprise software provider Good Technology, says that Apple’s iOS accounted for 65 percent of enterprise activations during the fourth quarter of 2010. Android, by comparison, accounted for only 30 percent of new activations. Good’s software manages mobile devices that use both iOS and Android platforms, but doesn’t work with BlackBerry or Windows Phone 7 devices. The company provides service for thousands of customers, including more than 40 among the Fortune 100. The findings in Good’s report reflect the experience of over 2,000 enterprise customers in total.

Much of the recent success of iOS in the enterprise can be attributed to the iPad, according to Good. The iPad grew to represent more than 20 percent of all iOS activations in its first eight months of availability. Unsurprisingly, the health care industry led the initial charge for iPad adoption (tablet computers weren’t strangers to hospitals even before the iPad’s introduction), but the financial services area is now the leader in iPad activations, and growth continues to be strong in that sector. Government, high tech, entertainment and other sectors trailed in terms of embracing Apple’s tablet. The iPad’s share of overall activations rose from 14 to 22 percent in the fourth quarter alone.

The iPhone was no slouch, either. The iPhone 4 was the most popular device by activations overall, with more than twice as many activations as any other advice during the month of October. The iPad was the second most frequently activated device during the quarter, and the iPhone 3GS continued to perform well, coming in third overall. The Motorola Droid X and Droid 2 both gave strong performances as well. There are so many different Android devices in use, Good says, that only a few very popular devices crack the top 10 in monthly activations, with the remainder taking up many of the spots below that threshold. No Android tablets cracked the top 10 for the quarter.

Good Technology concludes its report by predicting that 2011 will be the year of the tablet (a statement with which developers would seem to agree), led by the iPad, when it comes to new enterprise activations. I anticipated as much in my recent post for WebWorkerDaily, and Good’s conclusion about the changing roles of smartphones and tablets in the enterprise mirror my own thoughts in that piece:

We predict that in 2011, the iPad, along with other tablets, will be increasingly purchased and deployed by enterprises to meet specific business needs. This contrasts with smartphones, which we predict will continue to be driven primarily by the “Bring Your Own Device” model and more general productivity benefits.

The ability of Android to benefit from this trend will be dependent upon the quality of the Honeycomb tablets that emerge. The fact that Google is now providing a version of its mobile OS tailored to tablets should help increase enterprise adoption of the platform, but can it catch up to the iPad, especially now that many businesses for whom tablet usage makes the most sense have already invested significantly in Apple’s OS?

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