It just seemed like yesterday… Palm Pilot

I was just looking at some statistics lately of what is the most common smartphone/iPad OS and I noticed at what we had way back in 2005 when Palm had much of the market.  I even had the wireless version, the Palm VII if you remember that, it had decent connectivity (depending on the city) getting emails and syncing on a single device is where the market was going.  I don’t remember but I thought we had some rudimentary web interface.  The hardest thing I found was getting a single address book to sync properly amongst the various desktops and laptops we had.  It never came out right.  I even had some of the Nokia products running on Symbian which had great development promise. The challenge back then is what is the target platform for developers to use for enterprise apps and what if anything can a enterprise standardize on.  The early days…US-Smartphone-Market-Share-by-Operating-System1

cradle_iiie

Palm Pilot III in cradle

As the market matured over the last couple of years the winners are pretty clear for a developer and what an enterprise can standardize on.  On the chart it seems that Android is coming out ahead but I’m not sure about that… in 2013 iOS started to take some of the market back.  We’ll see how the iPhone 6 is received, I don’t think we’ll major shifts.

I have to admit that I started using the iPhone when it first came out in 2007.  It had terrible battery life and I had to be tethered to a wall charger on a regular basis for life support.  But the iPhone sure made a statement.  So, I’m a little biased on platform choices.

My informal survey of large enterprises building internal apps I found that development seems to be skewed towards the iOS platform especially if a tablet will be used.  For smartphones it seems to be an even split similar to the survey results above.  For internal enterprise apps you don’t have the same iOS restrictions that you do by putting something into the Apple Store.

As an experiment I purchased a Nexus 7, got a great deal refurbished model at WalMart.com (I don’t shop WalMart for my IT needs but the ad got me).  I wasn’t really in the market just doing some research but couldn’t resist the price point (I got it here I don’t get anything extra promoting this).  I really looked forward to testing it out and seeing if there were any major differences.  When I received it (a couple of days) the big thing was getting use to the user interface and my apprehension on some of the apps.   Even though it looks similar, the home button is gone and how to navigate to the home screen and apps is slightly different.  Three big things for me though, 1) I like – the ability to have multiple users on the same device.  I think that was the update in Kit Kat, 2) I like – the wide range of apps available, and 3)I hate – which apps are just noise or driving you to unknown websites etc – this is the most troublesome.  Make sure you read the reviews before downloading an app.  Couple of other points, depending on the hardware model you buy, the behavior of the app can change depending on the “tweaks” the vendor did to the operating system.  By the virtue of having it as open source changes can and will be made making previous work incompatible.  Also, it appears, less so now, that changes to the Android operating system were made because it was good engineering as opposed to a balanced business/engineering change.  What I mean by balanced is, what changes to the underlying operating system changes are taken into consideration how it affects apps that are in use or built and/or give the community a migration tool etc.

Like it or not, I feel safer with iOS.  At least it is vetted and reviewed by Apple before it is put out in the wild especially.  I’m not trying to be closed minded here.  I don’t really have time to worry about whether by app has security issues or that a operating system upgrade changes or breaks the app or if the upgrade isn’t done that a security vulnerability is exposed especially a tablet for business processes in an enterprise environment.  Android provides a little easier ability for application development and you can control enterprise apps with enterprise mobility management software like Airwatch.

A survey from a couple of years ago from a Comscore blog about the iPhone customer vs Android but still I believe it still holds true both for the smartphone and tablet systems today that shows: Android-vs-iOS-infographic-200x800

  • iPhone Users are Slightly Younger and More Affluent
  • Android Users Have Broader Content Category Reach, Despite iOS Users’ Higher Propensity
  • iPhone Users More Likely to Engage in M-Commerce
  • Phone Satisfaction Corresponds with High Device Loyalty

The blog then asks the questions… where should you  devote your time to development.

I can go either way on development.  Android and Android tablets offer an inexpensive platform where iOS provides a safer environment if the devices will be used outside of the enterprise.

Plus, we have iPhone 6 coming out.  I’ve been waiting for that to come out for an upgrade.  I’m not going to speculate on screen size etc but I look forward to the upgrade.

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