From the last one decade, the internet is considered as medium for businesses to create their online presence. With the rapid growth of mobile telecommunication market, yesterday’s cellphone with small monochrome displays- meant for phone calls and text messaging- have transformed into smartphones – miniaturized computers with dual-core processor. Today, nearly 42 % of the US population owns smartphone according to studies and the rest of the world does not have too different a picture to show.
Smartphones have changed the way business enterprises are measured with more brand value being conferred to business owners who has indeed reached out more personally to their customers and potential customers via a Smartphone app rather than just a plain old website. Smartphone apps have become the mainstay of users today and for the records, a study conducted by Edelman Berland pointed out that nearly two-thirds of shoppers today use an app to buy from an online store rather than visiting the website and making further proceedings thereof.
According to latest report by Forrester, commerce in the United States will reach $31 billion by 2016. On the statistical note, Getelastic also finds outs that mobile commerce is growing day by day as compared to desktop commerce. The research says that 1 in 2 Americans are interested in mobile wallets, over ½ of these have used in last 3 months and 73% of QR code scanners scanned for product info, 32% for coupons and offers.
While this may be a trend to watch out for, business owners continue to face yet another intriguing problem i.e. deciding on which platform their business apps should be concentrating as far as Smartphones are concerned. You have the widely popular Android OS, the powerful iOS as well as other proprietary operating platforms like Windows, Blackberry OS and above all the
HTML 5 operating environment.
Let us examine the contestants one by one.
The iOS boasts of the largest application database among all native mobile operating platforms. There are a whole lot of categories such as games, business apps, travel, entertainment etc. Some of the top business apps for smartphones can be found in iOS like for example Google Drive, CloudOn, Things, etc.
On a revenue basis globally it is the iOS that outsmarts Android in almost all major markets except for South Korea where Android has the lead. Reports from App Annie stand testimonial to this. In countries such as Japan, Android apps managed to bring in revenues of just around $23.8 million whereas apps in iOS managed more than double the amount at $48.1 million.
The one factor which stops iOS penetration completely is that it can run exclusively on devices made by Apple and hence could possibly miss out on the multi manufacturer devices sold in
the market that run on Android OS. This is a serious drawback as not everyone can afford an iPhone or iPad Tablet.
Now some talks about enterprise mobility, with rapid adaption of cloud computing, BYOD (bring your own device) policy, enterprises have started adopting emerging mobility platform to enable their employees to attain right information, at right time, at right place.
The iOS apps like dropbox (free), Encamp ( for project management), flight track pro, Evernote (for remembering anything and everything), Analytics App, Invoice to go, SignNSend and many more can help business to do business 24×7. According to Good Technology’s Q2 2012 Device Activation Report, iOS is the dominant smartphone platform within corporations.
Arguably the OS of the decade, Android is what that made Smartphones such a common element of today’s lifestyle. Being free and open source, Android has allowed manufacturers across the world come up with cheaper smartphones thereby creating greater market penetration in global markets. Look at some statistics from renounced research organizations-
- According to new report from Strategy Analytics, 68.4% smartphones have android as operating system.
- As per IDC and Gartner, Chinese Android market is growing very fast and 90% of smartphones being sold there are Android-powered.
Now some talks about security, Android marketplace is unregulated by Google.
- According to F-secure, 75% of smartphone malware targets Android devices.
- On the similar note, FBI’s Internet crime complaint center has also warned users for various forms of malware attacks on Android operating systems of mobile devices.
Certainly, Android OS has come a long way since its original release. Businesses using Android OS can streamline employee productivity and improve efficiency through many applications (some are available for free) such as WorkBench, Pronto Forms, and Xora GPS TimeTrack
In the early days of Enterprise Mobility, RIM’s BlackBerry OS was leading mobility platform mainly due to its advanced security features but today Google’s Android OS is also gaining popularity among enterprise users. Good Technology’s Q2 2012 Device Activation Report states that corporate use of Android smartphones has nearly doubled quarter over quarter.
For beginners HTML 5 is not an app development platform but a standard for future web coding that is slated to take web driven applications to new heights. Any application developed with HTML 5 would run quite efficiently on any mobile browser further summing up as a challenge to the Android and iOS platforms. Compared to native mobile apps developed using Android or the iOS, HTML 5 apps have the advantage of having content created on the internet which further provides a better way to integrate multiple content streams and share content via the internet. However native apps still hold the advantage as HTML 5 is still relatively new in the market and most equipment manufacturers as well as developers are yet to test the abilities of HTML 5.
With improvements in HTML5 technology, business can select from many mobile platform like Mobile Web, Native Apps, Hybrid Apps, Cross-mobile platforms. Hybrid Apps (Mobile Web App) is gaining popularity as it offers the right mix of features & functionalities supported by mobile web and native app.
Other proprietary OS like Windows Mobile and, Blackberry OS are all continuously evolving thereby creating greater scope for competition in future. But in the present scenario, their numbers are still behind the leaders which are clearly iOS and Android while HTML 5 which is device independent.
So which OS should your business focus on? In some aspects, Android seems better option and for some businesses iOS might prove to be darling mobile platform. It all depends what kind of audience you are targeting and the geographical location. e.g If Vodafone has to promote some offer in UK they might target mobile ads via smartphone but if they have to promote some offer in Africa they might target promoting the offer through SMS as the smartphone penetration is very low. Ideally, to reach out to maximum customers a business should ideally cover most
of the platforms if possible.
This article was written by Amit Deshpande, Program Manager, Mobile Development Net solutions. To explore more clarity on which mobile platform is more relevant to your business you can reach him at amit (dot) deshpande (at) netsolutionsindia (dot) com. You can also reach any of our other business experts by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Net Solutions is an award winning Mobile apps Development Company which has been developing apps for iOS, Android and HTML5 since the inception of these platforms.