People Matter MobileWhat is your device of choice? Are you an Apple person? Android? Maybe you’re still rocking a Razr flip phone. Luckily for you, the mobile device you prefer to use will most likely not limit you in your interactions with your organization’s systems. Well, except for you, Razr guy, you’re out of luck. We are seeing the end of the need for two devices. The days of carrying your Blackberry for work and your iPhone for your life are essentially behind us, but research from Brandon Hall Group suggests that we haven’t yet fully entered the BYOD era.

According to IDC, 81% of the smartphones shipped this quarter worldwide run the Android platform, while Apple’s iOS is found on 13% of smartphones. But the very thing that makes Android so ubiquitous might be what keeps it from being the workplace platform of choice. Android runs on an almost immeasurable number of handheld devices. Each of the manufacturers “skin” Android their own way, so the devices look and behave somewhat differently from one another. By contrast, there have only been 8 iPhones since their inception, and they all pretty much look and run the same. This is important when deciding which device to issue. The newest, hottest Android phone is typically being replaced by a different manufacturer every few months. Stability is key in the eyes of most IT departments.

It’s partly for this reason that Apple devices, rather than Androids, have overtaken Blackberries as the weapon of choice for organizations. According to BHG’s Mobile Learning Survey 2013, 60%of companies that issue devices issue iPhones. Blackberries are handed out by 52%, and Android phones by just 38%. Blackberries still make a strong showing simply due to their legacy of being the only game in town. They are highly trusted by IT departments and are proven workhorses. However, the dwindling support for Blackberries in the consumer market and advances in enterprise applications for Android and iOS devices mean the Blackberry’s days may be numbered.

Another contributor to the end to the Blackberry may be the tablet. Just like iPhones, 60% of companies that issue devices issue iPads to their employees and 12% issue iPad minis. Blackberry doesn’t really have a viable player in this market, and Android is even farther behind here than with phones, with just 20% of companies issuing Android tablets.

Even in a purely BYOD environment, Apple seems to have the edge. When companies develop mobile learning apps, 76% do it for the iOS platform, while 60% do it for Android. In app development, even Windows (29%) is doing better than Blackberry (28%). To be fair, Blackberry devices were never meant to be very app-centric.

So the upshot is this: in an enterprise environment, Apple is king, Android is fighting hard, Blackberry is fading but holding on for dear life, and Windows is making headway. In an atmosphere like this, it makes sense to pay close attention to responsive web design and other device-agnostic content creation methods. Unless, of course, your organization is prepared to hand out identical devices to everyone who needs them.

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.

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