It is no secret that up until a few years ago BlackBerry had a steadfast hold on the enterprise app market. It is only recently that Apple has begun to encroach on BlackBerry’s mobile enterprise domination. In the mobile enterprise app revolution one major operating system is doing little to nothing to establish themselves as a player in the business app game. The Android operating system and Android powered devices have not been quick to be adopted in the enterprise settings mostly in part to the difficulty in managing the various versions of the Android OS.
In April of 2012 a research company by the name of Gartner conducted a survey that showed 58 percent of its respondents already had or planned to make the iOS their go to platform in the next year. This compares to BlackBerry at 20 percent and Android at a paltry 9 percent. Gartner points to Google’s weak management support compared to the other two companies as the main reason that the Android OS is not being more widely adopted.
Mobile device management software licenses increased in 2010 to around $200 million and in 2011 to around $350 million. In 2012 licenses are expected to reach up to $500 million. Garter believes that one of Google’s fatal flaws is that they haven’t opened up many application programming interfaces for MDM providers to connect their management tools to Android. Android’s newest version only offered 16 APIs compared to Blackberry’s over 500 APIs. Some MDM suppliers have built their own APIs for Android but Gartner says that this process “is time-consuming and expensive to do for each device and version of Android.” Gartner drove the point home by saying, “This [problem] has severely limited Android adoption in the enterprise, and even today, very few enterprises provide [Android] support.”
Another issue that has been plaguing the Android OS is a lack of security. Google has been working diligently to resolve their security issues. The company is in the middle of acquiring Motorola Mobility which is believed to be a step in the right direction for device security. The general manager of Motorola Mobility’s enterprise business unit back the idea in a statement saying, “We have to get Android as a whole at a stable and secure place, and once Android is behind the firewall [with 3LM], that helps. There’s a lot of mythology around Android and whether it’s secure or not.”
Google has been pretty mum about the studies that have been released and their plans for enterprise apps. It would be surprising if Google did not make changes to become a competitor in the mobile enterprise app market. This is also good news for mobile app developers who have been frustrated with the lack of ability to produce mobile business apps for the Android market. There is no word on how long it will take Google to fix these problems, but it is safe to bet that if they want to remain contenders in the mobile arena they will fast track solutions to these glaring issues. It is also important to remember that this comes at a time when Windows mobile is just starting to gain a foot hold in the market.