Will Android become the next business mobile platform?
Not so long ago SAP and Samsung announced about their collaboration in promoting Android OS for small and medium-sized businesses. The companies are going to work together to develop solutions in the field of mobile security and management.
Samsung launches KNOX project for these purposes, within which it will distribute business tools for IT- organizations.
“Many of the world’s largest enterprises depend on SAP® applications for their critical business processes, and that trust now extends to enable the safe adoption of Android in the enterprise. With the increasing use of smartphones in business, Samsung KNOX addresses the mobile security needs of enterprise IT, without invading the privacy of its employees.” - said in the SAP statement. Samsung emphasizes that they will focus on a long-term cooperation to implement their own vision and distribution of BYOD model for business.
The demand on such products will grow but only if they will be of high quality. Here is fact to prove it: BlackBerry Messenger, the application for short messages exchange via a secure protocol for business, has recently been adapted to Android, and just in eight hours it was downloaded by 5 million users.
But the problem is that businesses do not want to use BlackBerry solutions, as they are choosing iPhone as smartphones for business, rarely - Windows Phone 8 and almost never - Android. Experts say that Android has some issues that prevent it to take its rightful place in a corporate environment. And if Google does not care about their elimination itself, the Samsung and SAP project may be having trouble finding customers.
Security problems. Android is more vulnerable to viruses than all other platforms. Contrary to a stereotype, hackers and people who make programs with malicious code are well aware that the majority of Android users are newbies who do not understand very well how to use the device. So now it is much easier to hack this OS than iOS or Windows Phone or BlackBerry OS 10. Applications with malicious code are too common in the official app store - Google Play. Android open source, which was considered the main asset of this platform in the initial stage, has became a major drawback.
Platform Fragmentation. Different versions of Android can be installed on smartphones with completely different characteristics and sizes of screens - and the operating system has to support many hundreds of combinations of different screen sizes and hardware sets. It leads to some bugs in the work of the OS. However, Google tried to change it with the release of the latest Android KitKat.
Lack of high-quality software. Almost all innovative applications for mobile devices appear first for iOS, then - for Android. Sometimes app developers of the app which became a cult on the iPhone, do not care about developing it for Android. The main reason for this is the fact that the developers will earn on the iOS app more than on the Android app. Android users are just not used to spend money on software. No demand - no offers. This is true both for the "consumer" apps, entertainment applications, and for a specialized business software.
Short Battery Life. Buying a new Android smartphone, you cannot say for sure how long it can run on a single battery charge. This factor depends on the software and OS version. But anyway, Android users have to admit, most of the actively used devices based on this platform cannot survive the day without recharging. In this sense, iPhone and BlackBerry are still a better choice than an Android-smartphone.
Size Issue. Most modern and powerful Android-devices are too large to look appropriate in the pocket or hands of a businessman in a suit. Huge 5- or 6-inch devices are so difficult to talk and to use with one hand. Phablets aren’t business devices. In this case, a 4-inch iPhone looks much better.
Of course, there is always a possibility to buy an Android smartphone of the right size, but where is the guarantee that it will work as quickly as a top gadget from Samsung or HTC, which is much larger than iPhone? Therefore, the search for convenient Android devices for business on Android is always a compromise.
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