One of the questions that arises in conversations about mobile app development is is which platform is better, Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, or Microsoft’s Windows. But, this is not a simple comparison because as each platform continues to mature, they evolve certain strengths that make them a stronger contender in one area of development than others. We admire Android because it is open source, which we favor, because that typically means there are lots of folks working to improve it on an ongoing basis. That isn’t the way Google interprets “open source”, however, and that may affect how Android evolves in the coming years.
We do most of our mobile development in iOS, because it is in such high demand on an enterprise level. As the business climate continues to experience rapid changes, businesses large and small are seeking ways to propel their company into a better position to capture new market share, which requires creating an alliance with a strategic technology partner that can help leverage knowledge about market demand and position the company to disrupt the industry with an app that responds to the consumers’ needs and preferences.
The number of smartphone applications continues to escalate, and by the last quarter of 2013 Apple’s iOS dominated the enterprise market with 73% of mobile device activations and also grabbed the top ten spots for most popular devices, according to a report by macrumors. The iPad maintains a strong hold on tablet activations, claiming 91.4 percent of enterprise tablet activations in Q4 2013, while Android accounted for the remaining 8.6 percent. The iPad was most popular in Financial Services and in Business and Professional Services, with the two sectors accounting for 60 percent of all Q4 iPad activations.
But, the smartphone and tablet are not the only area of development for mobile platforms. Vehicles are gaining many of the capabilities of our smartphones, and smartphone manufacturers have hundreds of vehicle patents between them, largely related to smart device integration, navigation, and other advanced technologies. In the future, instead of using your car just to charge your smartphone and play your favorite collection of tunes, the car will use your smartphone to navigate, locate the nearest gas station, charging station or restaurant, and use other applications that haven’t yet even been developed. Google has joined an alliance to bring its Android platform to in-car entertainment systems and is planning to launch by the end of 2014. The first cars with Apple’s full Siri integration have already begun to appear, and the Sync system found in Ford vehicles is based on Microsoft technology.
Mobile integration within the enterprise sector also continues to expand. Companies are finding that they need to address integrating mobile technology into the mix of office automation. Mobile integration solutions provide workers with real-time connectivity and access to business data, applications and each other, regardless of location or device type. Real-time access to email, calendar, and contacts from any type of mobile device, including smartphones and tablets is needed by today’s mobile workforce which requires network collaboration from virtually anywhere. This, of course, opens up areas of security concerns for IT managers who find their secure “clean environments” being accessed from outside their controlled environment.
In a recent study relating to mobile security for federal workers, several risky behaviors were found that keep IT managers awake at night: a lack of multi-factor authentication or data encryption on mobile devices, the use of public WiFi, and failure to use proper password protocols on mobile devices used for work. A third of the respondents admitted to using passwords that would be considered easy to guess. As mobile continues to proliferate, security measures will need to keep pace or risk putting enterprise infrastructures in danger of cyber-attacks.
So, the question may not be which of the platforms is better than the other, but, perhaps, which can evolve into rugged platforms that incorporate defensibility and survivability while serving its many audiences while protecting itself from the army of bad guys trying to break into the system.
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