iOS Rises For Business, Android Expands Among Consumers

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Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad made up about half of new activations of mobile devices among businesses during the last three months, while Android smartphones again gained more marketshare, according to two new studies.

What do these two studies show? Apple has a higher profile in the business world than previously thought, Windows Mobile has a small but solid business base, and Android is expanding across all spectrums of people.

In business, Android devices made up 30 percent of new activations, reported Good Technology, a technology management company that analyzed thousands of customers. The Windows Mobile OS made up 15 percent, while Symbian made up 5 percent over the three-month period. Good Technology did not analyze Research In Motion's BlackBerry.

In contrast, Android smartphones showed the only gain in market share from June through August, according to Comscore. While the Android platform rose by 7 percent to account for 20 percent of all smartphone subscribers, RIM's platform fell by 4 percent to 38 percent, and Apple fell slightly to 24 percent. Bringing up the rear, Microsoft's mobile OS amounted to 11 percent of subscribers, and Palm declined slightly to just under 5 percent.

Comscore's numbers show that the Android OS is rising wildly in popularity for all 56 million smartphone subscribers aged 13 and up. Comscore also reported that Samsung is the number-one smartphone maker in the country, making up 24 percent of all smartphones sold in the United States. Next came LG at 21 percent, while Motorola was third at 19 percent. RIM rose slightly to 9 percent, and Nokia came in fifth place at 8 percent.

Although Good Technology analyzed smartphone activation among enterprises, one of its most unique findings was that 70 percent of customers who activated an iPad used no other devices, including those on the Apple iOS--meaning many just wanted the iPad only for business use.

Also surprising was that Windows Mobile platform devices, such as the Samsung Blackjack 2 and HTC Cedar, cracked the company's top ten list. Although Good said it didn't foresee the Windows Mobile platform growing, companies invested in the technology weren't going to abandon it. Symbian, the smallest part of Good's customers, were primarily in Europe.

Good Technology charts activations of mobile devices by operating system. The company did not include RIM data.

However, if you read these studies and assume that Android doesn't have a firm grip on business, that may be naïve. The Linux-based system has shown security advantages, offers a wide array of products to accommodate different budgets, and has ever-increasing consumer demand.

While Good Technology's study is interesting, without seeing its customer base and the various sizes of companies it services, it's hard to analyze the data as anything other than a general trend. I suppose the same can be said for Comscore, whose stable of smartphone users aged 13 and up is also largely unknown.

What business owners can take away from this information is that mobile operating systems thought of as purely for consumers are being regularly used for work. If you find a platform you like and that suits your business needs, be it Android or iOS, you have a choice--and each one is valid.

Reach or follow Barbara E. Hernandez on Twitter: @bhern.

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