Smartphones in today’s world, particularly in today’s businesses, are practically omnipresent. They have drastically changed the landscape of how businesses can operate and communicate, primarily through affording vastly increased mobility for employees. Though business purposes remain the biggest application of smartphones, there has also been an explosion of smartphones purchased for personal use. With the big success of phones such as the Apple iPhone and the Motorola Droid, smartphones have a wider audience and a more pivotal role in our society than ever before.
The mobile operating system has become a ‘hotspot’ of competition between companies seeking to lead the way in the ever-growing smartphone market. Google formally introduced the Android OS in 2007, and since then it has become the fastest growing OS used in mobile phones today. According to the most recent Gartner research, Android has seen a drastic 8% rise in mobile OS market share since 2009. This overtakes Microsoft Windows Mobile as the fourth largest market share. The Apple iOS, operating system of the iPhone, continues to show strong growth in use as well. A 4.9% rise keeps the iOS in third at 15.4% of the market share, closing the gap between BlackBerry’s RIM OS to under a 5% difference. Symbian, Nokia’s longtime OS for their internet tablet series, has declined from 48.8% in 2009 to 44.3% in 2010.
RIM has made efforts to defend its position as a leader in business-use smartphones, including the recent release of the free BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express – which promises much of the full functionality of BlackBerry Enterprise Server for businesses to facilitate connecting employees to company services such as email and file organization. Additionally, BlackBerry 6 OS was previewed at the Android user event WES 2010, and is expected to be released in Q3 of this year.
With such increases in personal and overall use for Droid and the iPhone, the question becomes: will we see a drastic re-shaping of the landscape of smartphones in business? If in three years the iOS and Android account for 50% or more of the market share, will we see businesses embracing them in the same numbers as RIM’s BlackBerry? Or will BlackBerry continue to push their business-oriented services and stay ahead of the competition? The question for today’s business is: will our company embrace one mobile company, or accommodate the growing diversity in the market?