Mobile Communications

Kathryn Cave (Global) Apple or Android?

There are so many tough choices in life: McDonalds or Burger King? Coke or Pepsi?  Now the big question appears to be Apple or Android? However, like both previous issues, surely there are not only two options?

New tablets are springing up everywhere. You can’t read the technology news without hearing about the latest tablet device to hit the shelves. There is constant press on the insipient popularity of BlackBerry RIM, numerous discussions about when the Windows 8 tablet will arrive… and if so who will bring it! Not to mention plenty of column inches on potential rival contenders that have not made the headlines.

Yet despite all this, the question at the moment does always appear to be Apple versus Android, and whether or not Android can realistically catch up.  Perhaps this is little surprise – these are the biggest contenders today - and the outcome of this debate has the potential to have a serious impact on business over the next five years.  This will not only affect the apps that businesses utilize, but also the way apps are developed for business.

Evidence shows that tablet sales to businesses certainly seem to be growing. Figures from Forrester Research show businesses are likely to spend $16bn on iPads and $12bn on Macs in 2013 - in comparison to the $6bn they spent on each last year.  Gina Luk, senior analyst at analysts Strategy Analytics recently said that while sales to business currently account for only about 10% of tablet sales she expects tablet deployment and adoption will gain momentum this year. In fact she estimates that the proportion of tablets being bought by businesses will grow to 18 – 20% per cent by 2015.

On top of this, our research has shown that amongst the iPad owning business community this device has become a true work tool. We discovered that more iPad owners actually use it for work communication than those that use it for personal communication.  But what about Android owners? In a lot of ways it makes sense for Android to gradually supersede  Apple in business popularity.  This operating system is not married to one device, and most of the tablets that utilize it are far cheaper than the Apple alternative.

Last week, we ran a short poll to our readers asking whether they had a tablet device and if so, which one they use. The results were more or less as anticipated. Out of 1792 global IT and business respondents a significant 65% did own a tablet. Out of this tablet owning group 83% had the iPad, whilst Android devices amounted to 13% of our readership and other operating devices amounted to only 4%.

This was a lower percentage than the figures released by Strategy Analytics last week, which reported that Android tablets took 39% of the world tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2011; whilst Apple dominated the rest of the market on its own, taking 58% of the market during the period.

Perhaps this is testament to a ubiquity of iPads in business? Perhaps it is indicative of tablet choices amongst our readers? Where do you stand on the question of Apple versus Android? And how do you think it will impact business over the next five years?


Tell us what you think: either pop your comment below, or if you prefer, drop me an email at Kathryn Cave is Editor of IDG Connect International.


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