With smartphones recently overtaking feature phones in sales, what was once an expensive gadget for tech enthusiasts and upper management is fast becoming ubiquitous. Many smartphones are now free with contract, and the allure of constant Facebook access and Angry Birds games has convinced many people to pay roughly $30 extra per month for the mandatory data plan.
Employers sometimes take measures to block personal devices from connecting to company systems, but many are relenting and allowing employees to bring their own smartphones and tablets into the network. For organizations whose employees are always on the go or expected to be responsive nights and weekends, company issued smartphones are also spreading well beyond upper management.
Blackberry formerly had a tight grip on the sale of these corporate devices, but even the largest companies and especially smaller nonprofits are exploring the alternative iPhone and Android while Blackberry is hemorrhaging customers and openly considering a sale of the company. Management (as well as consumers) would be wise to avoid purchasing Blackberry equipment for now, as it seems everyone is already doing with Blackberry market share falling from 13.6% to 6.4% in the last year.
The choice between Android and iPhone is less clear, with both offering compelling devices and solid software. Google’s Android operating system is the more recent entrant to the smartphone market, and is about tied with the iPhone for market share. Android phones can be free with a contract, and many varied models are available from manufacturers such as HTC, LG and Samsung.
Advantages of Android over iPhone
• A wider range of models including larger screen options
• More options to customize the phone freely
• Physical keyboards on some models
• Expandable storage via memory cards and most have a user changeable battery
• 4G available for fastest video streaming
The iPhone was the first phone with a web browser that actually worked well and it changed the industry. Apple makes the operating system and offers only one current model and a discounted prior model. You can choose between different amounts of storage depending on your budget.
Advantages of iPhone over Android
• Simplest smartphone to learn/use (Ranked highest in customer satisfaction)
• Arguably a bit more secure than Android
• User experience more consistent and no ‘bad’ phone models
• Better support for updating your phone to the newest operating system later
• Better battery life on average, though some Android phones have great battery life
Whether your organization decides to stick with one platform, or let users choose it is hard to go wrong. Neither requires expensive backend equipment like Blackberry does. It is very easy to hook them into your existing Outlook or Google Apps setup.
Consider having your IT team set requirements for iPhones or Android phones, whether they are company supplied or employee owned. For example, require phones to have a PIN code required after the phone is unused for a while, to protect sensitive information if the phone is lost and block Android phones from running ‘unsigned’ applications.
These sorts of things were more “built” into Blackberry’s platform but it is easy for us to turn the features on with your existing setup. If you haven’t already, today is a great day for your organization to flee the sinking Blackberry ship and move onto smooth sailing with Android or iPhone.