Android Is Red Hot, Except With the Business Crowd

Photograph by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A Toshiba Excite Android tablet is shown at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Google’s Android software for mobile devices has opened up a wide lead in market share, but it hasn’t made the same inroads with a lucrative niche: businesspeople.

While Android is expected to grab 68 percent of the smartphone market this year, according to researcher IDC, only 22 percent of information workers say they want a smartphone based on Google’s software on the job, according to a survey of 9,766 people by Forrester Research. Here’s what the survey said:

  • Apple — 26%
  • Windows 8 — 20%
  • I don’t plan to use a tablet for work — 17%
  • Windows 7 or other Windows — 12%
  • No preference/Don’t know — 11%
  • Android — 11%
  • Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook — 1%
  • Blackberry Playbook — 1%
  • Other — 1%

Why the disparity? Android has done very well with consumers, particularly more price-sensitive ones, Gillett said. Businesspeople can pay Apple’s prices for a premium product, and millions of them already own iPhones and other Apple products and aren’t likely to walk away from their investment, he said.

Those polled may have written off Android because their companies don’t support it beyond e-mail access. That’s because many chief information officers don’t like the fact that almost every model of Android phone uses a slightly different version of the software, which means more testing, security updates and support costs, according to Frank Gillett, a Forrester analyst.

“CIOs are worried that their employees will end up with malware that they’re not likely to get with iOS,” Gillett said. “Google is taking the approach of reacting to problems, while Microsoft and Apple are being more proactive.”

In tablets, Android has an even smaller share among the business crowd, despite its 42.7 percent share of the overall tablet market:

  • Apple — 33%
  • Android — 22%
  • No plans to use  smartphone on corporate network —  16%
  • No preference/Don’t know — 11%
  • Windows — 10%
  • Blackberry — 7%
  • Other — 1%

Android’s poor showing is not for lack of trying. Dozens of Android tablets have come to market since the iPad was introduced in 2010. Even more notable is how poorly Android scored relative to Microsoft, which has been a no-show in the tablet market and hadn’t even begun selling its Surface tablet until October.

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