While there’s nothing wrong with being an Apple fanboy, it seems that Android has been gaining ground as the most popaular phone operating system. Last year, Android led the whole mobile market with a 53% market share, a 28% year-to-year increase from 2010. While iOS has had a bigger increase in its market share, it doesn’t seem to be ready to take Android’s spot as the top mobile operating system. But here’s the real question: What does Android offer that’s enticing to small businesses?
As an owner/operator, it’s your responsibility to choose something that you and people working for you will be comfortable with, has a short learning curve, and isn’t riddled with bugs that render some apps unusable. Sure, Android is popular, but a lot of software has become popular and ended up being a pile of code thrown together at the last minute with some really shiny marketing strategies carrying it to the top and nothing more. Let’s list a few things that could help you make the decision:
- It’s more affordable – You’re probably not the kind of person that can shell out cash on any proprietary material that’s thrown at you. That’s why you need to think about the cold hard cash you’re spending. Since Android OS is affordable, you’ll find phones costing anything from $200-600 running the software. While the iPhone 4 might have fallen down to just below $100, that doesn’t change the fact that the phone has barely any capability of interacting with non-Apple devices.
- You have more choices – How many phones run iOS? Like 5? Compare that to the numerous amount of Android-based phones. The choices are limitless!
- Open source software – Who said you have to use your Android phone as it comes right out of the box? It’s easy to develop a business application on it with your own branding. You can even modify the operating system to include your business’ brand on it. That gives you tons of kudos in the business world.
- Affordable development – To get your own app out there, you don’t need to pay exotic licensing and development fees. The application environments are free of charge and you end up saving a ton of money if you want to make more than one app for your business.
- Distribute anywhere – With iOS apps, you need to use the Apple App Store. With Android apps, you don’t need any of that mumble jumble. Just publish the app where you wish. There’s no “empire” looking over your shoulder.
- High customer demand – The fact the OS is popular in itself becomes a reason to use it, sometimes. Android is literally roaring in demand and customers are going after these phones in giant herds.
- Security – Android is a pipeline-based system, much like Linux – which it’s based on. You’ve heard about how Linux is difficult to hack, right? Well, you can rest assured that the sensitive information you send to your accountant won’t reach other eyes. iOS has its own security, but its applications might not be as secure as the operating system, since iOS doesn’t treat them as separate entities. Plus, Android is managed by its community, while iOS is managed only by Apple. Who do you think can thwart an attack more easily?
- It does what iOS does – OK, so Android doesn’t do everything that Apple’s prized OS does, but does Apple’s OS do everything Android can do? With Android’s “Ice Cream Sandwich” update, we’ve got ourselves a bonafide operating system that doesn’t fall far from the apple tree (pun intended).
- Track data usage – In these days, data is a precious resource, much like gasoline. Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich let’s you have a look at intricate data usage statistics. This helps you prevent going over limits on your carrier.
- It’s by Google – Let’s be honest: How likely are you to switch from Gmail to a service provided by Apple? Sure, iOS has a Gmail app, but it’s as inconvenient as an apple pie without the crust. Android’s Gmail app lets you manage your account so well that you might end up forgetting to check your computer altogether. This can go hand-in-hand with Google Apps’ Gmail services, which let you tie a company email to Gmail’s servers.
Bonus: One more reason to use Android OS:
- It won’t punish you for using an older phone – Apple’s been implementing features on its newer phones that you can’t use in the older versions, supposedly because of hardware compatibility issues. While this may be true, and Android might suffer some of the same limitations, Google will rarely limit your ability to use a feature on your phone just because you didn’t fill its coffers with cash on a new phone/tablet purchase.
Whether you choose Android or another mobile OS, it doesn’t matter. Just remember to review all the options and capabilities and then simply choose one that fits your business needs, today and tomorrow, and makes you happier.