With Android making major gains as the top operating system for smartphones and tablets, is an Android-powered field technology ecosystem the future for field service?
If someone were to ask you, which is the dominant operating system today—Windows, iOS, or Android—how would you answer? With the prestige of products such as the iPhone and the iPad, many of us would answer Apple; however, recent research reveals that Android is proving to be the true victor.
It’s hard to believe that not too long ago Android’s little green robot was virtually unknown. Since its initial release in 2008, Android has made major strides in the mobile market, gaining 62% of market share in 2013, 26% higher than Apple’s. Other factors such as an increased number of tablet sales, have also helped Google’s mobile operating system climb to the number one spot.
As Android’s dominance continues, it poses the question: Will field service organizations soon be operating solely in an Android world?
Why Android is Winning
- Free Operating System: For starters, Android is prevailing because its operating system is virtually free, which has forced competitor, Microsoft, to change its entire financial structure. Until late, Microsoft profited by charging manufactures for using its Window’s operating system for desktop computers. The company tried to mirror this methodology with its mobile devices and charged handset-makers up to $20 dollar per handset. For handset- makers, this was a ridiculous fee that could be avoided by switching to Android, and it is the reason Microsoft was forced to reconstruct its business model.
- Runs on Multiple Devices and Manufacturers: Another factor in Android’s success is its ability to run on multiple devices. Unlike iOS that only runs on Apple products, Android is available on devices such as Samsung, Nexus, Motorola, HTC, and many others. Being able to run on multiple devices is key for field service organizations because it gives technicians more variety in what devices they can use, especially with the rise of trends like BYOD . To put this into perspective, a technician who uses Android OS can choose to operate on a Nexus 10 tablet and also use a Samsung smartphone, as opposed to a technician using iOS who can only use an iPad and iPhone.
- Affordable Products: Another key contributor in Android’s dominance is the affordability of its products. Devices that run on the Android OS allow for people to get the best of both words: superior technology at an affordable price. For field service organizations that provide devices to their technicians, Android is an attractive option because it is an opportunity to cut costs. For example, you can purchase the Nexus 10, a 10 inch tablet from Google with an HD display for $399, while a similar product, like the Apple iPad Air with a 9.7 inch screen and retina display, is priced $100 more at $499.
Will the trend continue?
As 2014 continues to unfold, the direction of the mobile market is still unsure. As research has shown, Android’s market share dominance is making the operating system a force to be reckoned with. Additionally, with the introduction of devices such as Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Gear, Android will be able to capitalize on its first-mover advantage in the wearable technology market.
Although research has shown Android to be ahead of its competitors in market share, Apple iOS continues to be the most profitable operating system. Factors such as higher product price points, more app sales, and greater advertising revenue all contribute to Apple’s profitability. With that being said, the popularity of Apple products is undeniable. Based off my own observations, when I look around a room of tablet users, the majority are using iPads. Can you say the same?
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And don’t forget about Windows Phone. Although Microsoft’s operating system is not as popular as its competitors, many users turn to Windows because of its ease-of-use and unique capabilities, such as Microsoft services integration.
In the end, deciding the best operating system for field service comes down to user preference. When choosing an operating system, field service organizations should keep in mind all of their options in order to find a solution that’s right for them. And if you’re considering an investment in a service management application, be sure it runs cross platform so you can keep your operating system and device options open. Because, as 2014 research confirms, you never know what the shifting technology tides might bring.
A Little Competition Never Hurt Anyone
While the constant tug-of-war game between Android and other operating systems can seem overwhelming to keep up with, it is actually good for your service organization. Competition between software companies keeps costs down and amps up innovation so consumers receive the most creative solutions. Software companies duking it out for the top spot result in better, more affordable hardware and software for everyone.
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