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Author's profile photo Tom Van Doorslaer

#AndroidForEnterprise 1: Management Overview

Normally,  when you buy a book, there’s a short summary on the back which you read  first. Same for essays and articles, conclusions come at the end. In  this blog series, I will defend/promote Android for enterprises, but  since it will span multiple blog episodes, I feel kinda forced to give  the summary already ahead. In my subsequent episodes, I will zoom in on  specific subjects around Android/Google.

Let’s start with a bold statement: Android at work

Android may be the single biggest opportunity in enterprise mobility!

There, I said it.


Does this mean that all those managers and directors have to throw out their iPads and iPhones?



I mean: No!

Truth  is, I’d love to see them throw everything out of the window (that would be a laugh), but let’s  not drive them insane (Yet). Other platforms can be supported by IT too,  there’s no problem in having multiple devices/platforms. None the less,  Android holds much more potential than any other platform currently out  there. Beware that maybe, in a couple of weeks, I could be making the  same statement on Windows Phone. Not likely, but possible. The mobile  market is afterall changing very fast.

  Why dare I make this statement? What are my reasons?

#1 Android has a market share of 52% in Q3 2011. [source: Gartner] [Updated]

What Gartner does not mention, is that Android apps also run in virtual machines for Blackberry, Windows, Symbian and iOS.

#2 There’s potentially a lot more Android developers than iOS developers.

Android  is Java based, which is a widely known programming language with a low  treshold. Atop, the development environment is free and available for  all mainstream desktop OS’. (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)

#3 Android is open and thus appears on much more than just smartphones. 

Rugged androidIt’s already available on tablets, netbooks, rugged devices, on-board car computers, home appliances,…

Can  you imagine your car being able to read your next meeting and program  your navigation system to bring you there? Fleet managers can locate  cars, check fuel consumption or receive alerts when a car is involved in  an accident.

#4 Integration with Google.

Google  offers much more than just the Android platform. Enterprises can  purchase a subscription to Google Apps for only 40€ / user per year. This  includes mailaccounts customized to your domain, company pages,  document autoring and storage, mobile device management, calendar, collaboration platform and much much more. You’ll enjoy the advantages of Cloud technology off the shelf.

#5  Sybase and SAP still do not support native Android development,  although they do promise to have it soon. (and have been promising so  since 12 months…) Once the support arrives, there’s nothing stopping  the penetration of Android into the enterprises. Apart from maybe the Android development myths. A popular one is: “There’s so many different screen sizes, we’ll need an optimized version of our program for each form factor!!”


I will explain each of these points more in detail in following blog episodes:

(Disclaimer, I made this list up front, but it may change as I’m writing. Episodes may be merged, new episodes may be added)

#AndroidForEnterprise 2: Market

#AndroidForEnterprise 3: Mobility

#AndroidForEnterprise 4: Embedded

#AndroidForEnterprise 5: Integrate Google

#AndroidForEnterprise 6: SAP support for Android

#7 Development myths


Enjoy the read!


Crosspost from: my blog

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      Author's profile photo John Studdert
      John Studdert
      Hi Tom, interesting blog post. I would agree in general that dismissing Android as a serious mobile platform to consider for the enterprise would be a mistake, but then I haven't seen that happen; usually when discussing the consumerisation of IT in the enterprise I see people specifically highlight iOS and Android as the two major platforms to target. Often they do target iOS first but also mention that Android support is in the works, and I would argue that this approach makes sense; for enterprises iOS support is the more important of the two to get working first (if a choice has to be made) in my opinion.

      A few issues with your data points:
      "Market share of over 60%"
      -Gartner's 52% figure is _only_ for smartphones and therefore does not include iPads and the iPod Touch, which still all counted together show iOS as having an installed base greater than that of Android (in as much as this can be verified at all).

      -The 52% share you point out is only for sales in the most recent quarter, not for marketshare of the installed base, which I would argue is much more relevant when making decisions about platforms to support in the enterprise. In that most recent quarter the iOS share of the smartphone market dropped because of the much-anticipated release of the iPhone 4S slowing down sales. Sure enough, all reports from all carriers of the 4S have been that it has set sales records. Expect the quarterly % share to change next quarter (and more so the quarter after that, depending on when you set your quarterly dates!).

      -Giving Android >60% marketshare based on other platforms supporting Android VMs is pure speculation on your part and doesn't really make any sense in any case. Lots of platforms support emulation of others, it doesn't allow you to draw any conclusions about their use. In any case as I understand it the Playbook (which is the only Blackberry device that is designated to support Android apps, has neglible share of the tablet market, and is not a smartphone and therefore is not relevant to a discussion of smartphone marketshare which is the figure you posted) does not yet support Android app emulation, and when it eventually does (if ever), it will come with major restrictions. There is talk of the next-gen QNX-based Blackberries supporting Android apps but that is just talk for now. I know you can emulate Android apps on Windows, but again I don't see how that is at all relevant to marketshare of smartphones or mobile devices. Symbian is basically irrelevant and I haven't been able to find much that can run on anything newer than an iPhone 3G. I hadn't heard of Myriad's Alien Dalvik which looks interesting but I can't see how to actually get it. Doing some digging here turned up a few emulators and projects that I wasn't aware of though, so though I have to totally disagree with this point, thanks for bringing it up nonetheless!

      -Potentially more Android developers than iOS developers
      If you count the overall market of Java developers versus Objective-C developers, then yes. However, that's only relevant in order to measure the threshold or hurdles in learning to develop for the platform, and from that perspective C and C++ developers may find it easier to jump to Objective-C - though this is debatable, I'll admit. In any event, it's again speculation, and does not square up against the sheer volume of apps in Apple's store (despite having far more stringent requirements to get into their store) and against reports like this that show Android apps pulling in only 7% of the revenue of iOS apps:

      -Android is open
      Android is unarguably more open than iOS (though not nearly as open as Google claim), but that can also be construed as a disadvantage from the point of view of the enterprise, potentially making it harder to lock down and control Android phones and making them more of a risk. Look at the malware figures for Android compared to iOS for instance. Again, I actually think Android should be supported if budget and time allow, and this kind of risk can be mitigated with MDM software (at least I would hope!), but it has to be a consideration. The level of integration and control you're talking about with car computers and home appliances (though fascinating and exciting) is not yet feasible and realistically I don't see how this could factor into decisions about which platforms to support in the enterprise. Basically while there are undoubtedly advantages to this, there are also disadvantages and it's not such a clear win for Android from an enterprise's point of view IMO (who generally don't care nearly as much about openness as they do about support, something Android devices have fared poorly on:

      -Integration with Google
      Clear win for Android alright, their tools on Android are unsurprisingly much better than the tools they provide for iOS. Apple's iOS 5 and iCloud look very promising and superior to Google's offerings in some respects but have not been tested yet for stability and availability like Google's services have, and are more consumer-focused in any case.

      -Sybase/SAP support for Android
      I'm not sure why you list the fact that Sybase/SAP still do not support Android as a reason for enterprises to adopt it?

      All in all, while I take issue with your interpretation of the state of play right now, ultimately I think we agree: Android is clearly here to stay as a major platform and any enterprise looking to support consumerisation should have this on their list. Thanks for the post.

      Author's profile photo Tom Van Doorslaer
      Tom Van Doorslaer
      Blog Post Author
      Hi John,

      Thank you for your reply.
      Many of the points you bring up wil be tackled in my follow on posts and I'll be sure to include your remarks and have a proper answer on them. Most of the episodes are almost done actually, and a lot of your points are answered in there. So I'll try not to give away yet too much in my reply. instead, keep an eye on following episodes.

      Also note that this first episode is a teaser and supposed to trigger interest and discussion (Success!)

      To reply to some of your remarks already:

      I may have misinterpreted the 52% market share, but if so, many professional analyst sites have made the same misinterpretation as the gartner 2011 Q3 market share is published everywhere as the total market share, and not just the sales of that quarter.
      I did some digging and there are 135m >Active< Android devices
      For iOS, there's been 25m ipads >Sold< and 108 iPhones >Sold<<br/>Problem is, it's very hard to compare these two, but if we state that the average lifespan of any smartphone these days is about 2 years, than I think we may half the figure down to 70M active devices. (speculation, but I don't think i'll be far off)

      True that the VM emulation point is speculation, but I will go further into detail in the next episode.

      The sybase point has been made because it's not all roses and sunshine, but seeing the evolution we may have good hopes there.

      The developers point is made with the basis of Symbian (java) mobile developers (acquired by accenture and put to good use on other mobile OS'), Blackberry (java) developers and allround java developers. The fact that there are less dollars spent on android apps is not so very related because that's the spirit of free software that beams down from android to the app developers. Plus, I don't see how enterprises would suffer from the fact that they get free apps on their mobiles. (unless you talk from the partner point of view)

      All in all, I'm happy with your remarks. They give me food to continue my blog series and they triggered the discussion I was hoping for.

      Author's profile photo John Studdert
      John Studdert
      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for the reply. Yes it's all good discussion and food for thought! I'll take you up on your replies:

      "I may have misinterpreted the 52% market share, but if so, many professional analyst sites have made the same misinterpretation as the gartner 2011 Q3 market share is published everywhere as the total market share, and not just the sales of that quarter."

      While many professional analyst sites are sadly very poor at analysis, in this case they're on the money. If you read your own links, they repeatedly state very clearly that they're referring to marketshare _just in Q3_, as does your original Gartner link. For example, the very first line of the BusinessInsider article (a terrible site in my opinion, but nevertheless):

      "Android's share of the worldwide smartphone market was 52.3% for Q3" -> note the last two words!

      There are not 135 million active Android devices, rather this is a cumulative figure of how many _activations_ Google has seen on their network, and does not necessarily imply that they're all still active. So essentially it's the same metric as Apple's sales totals for their iOS devices, of which you left out the iPod Touch (an equally fully-fledged mobile device that supports iOS). Including this puts Apple's already majority share at over 220 million units back in July (the same month Google came out with their 135million figure). My money would be on Google having closed the gap in the meantime but not substantially, given that there is no serious Android competitor to the iPod Touch or iPad (there are competitors, they're just not relevant given how catastrophically poor their actual sales have been). In other words, whether you want to halve the figures or not (you have to apply the same logic to both sets of figures!), iOS is still ahead.

      Fair enough re. the "it's not all sunshine and roses" point 🙂

      As for developers, it's a fair point alright, I hadn't considered the language for Symbian and Blackberry developers. I would say that app store ecosystems never took off substantially on these platforms though, so their developer contribution may not be all that significant. As for the revenue from apps, I take your point but still think it's relevant as an app ecosystem that can generate such dominant revenue for its participants is a much more tempting target for developers, and therefore more likely to draw quality enterprise apps. There's nothing wrong with making some money from your efforts after all 🙂

      I look forward to the rest of the series.

      Author's profile photo John Studdert
      John Studdert
      Author's profile photo Tom Van Doorslaer
      Tom Van Doorslaer
      Blog Post Author
      Than I have indeed been misinterpreting the Gartner figures.
      I've updated the statement.

      It seems that it's near to impossible to figure out how both compare in actual active device numbers.

      Luckily I'm not trying to compare iOS vs Android. Just trying to put Android in the spotlight for once.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      IMHO ipod touch is a fully fledged toy, as is any other device with WIFI-only connectivity when we talk of enterprise mobility.
      Author's profile photo John Studdert
      John Studdert
      I'm curious as to why you'd dismiss it based on it being WiFi-only? I'm sure there are cases where 3G connectivity is needed but surely not all cases - in fact not having 3G would be an advantage in some enterprise scenarios as it would make the device's network access easier to lock down and control. Couple that with the device being a lot cheaper and/or not requiring any contract and I can see how it would be a very suitable offering for some scenarios.
      Author's profile photo Mario Aerts
      Mario Aerts
      Hi Tom, nicely written and great food for thought :). See you around!
      Author's profile photo Vlad Bnana
      Vlad Bnana