Android Fast Becoming iPhone, iPad ‘Archrival’ Among Enterprises

Worldwide smart-device sales will likely pass then 1 billion mark by 2013, indicating that the smart device trend is here to stay.

An estimated 821 million smartphones and tablets are predicted to be sold by the end of this year, according to new research by Gartner. Smartphones and tablets will likely account for 70 percent of total devices sold in 2012.

For most businesses, smartphones and tablets will not entirely replace PCs, but the ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing popularity of tablets are changing the way businesses look at their device strategies and the way consumers embrace devices,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

She added that two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone in 2016, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile. Gartner also estimates that tablets will be the key accelerators to mobility, with purchases reaching 13 million units in 2012. This number will triple by 2016, hitting nearly 53 million units.

About 56 percent of smartphones purchased by North American and European businesses will be Android devices in 2016, Gartner predicted, which is up from 34 percent in 2012 and virtually no penetration in 2010.

Today the wide range of brands and price points that the Android ecosystem is offering is winning over users,”  Milanesi said. “While Apple remains the heartbeat by which the market moves, Google has rapidly become its archrival.”

Gartner predicts that Windows 8 will take the No. 3 position in the tablet market for businesses in 2016, putting it behind Apple and Android. Tablets and convertibles will be the way into businesses for Windows 8, and the share of Windows 8 tablets and ultramobiles in businesses will reach 39 percent in 2016.

Consumer preferences in the past year have shaped the way IT departments think about devices in the enterprise,especially with BYOD becoming a part of the devices policy.

In just 12 months, businesses have moved from resisting Apple to accepting its devices in the organization,” Milanesi said. “CIOs who balance workers’ passion for Apple with the needs of IT will reap surprising benefits and prepare the business for entry of other consumer-market vendor technologies, as this is just the beginning.”

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