Google's Android is installed on more devices than any other mobile software system in the world. But beyond sheer quantity, it doesn't seem to have much going for it among American businesses. Its prominence is eroding in the smartphone market here.
Android is in steep decline in the workplace, according to an analysis by Good Technology, a major information technology firm that provides software for 3,000 businesses to manage Android and iOS devices.
The company said that from tracking device activations among clients using Good's software, it saw that 73.9 per cent of smartphones in use were iPhones and 26.1 per cent Android devices. The iPhone's share is up from 62.3 per cent in the similar period last year and Android down from 37.7 per cent.
The numbers for tablets are uglier for Android, partly because they haven't changed from last year. The iPad accounted for 97.3 per cent of tablet activations for the quarter, compared to 2.7 per cent for Android.
When the tablet and smartphone categories are combined, 80 per cent of Good's clients are using Apple devices, up from 70 per cent in the year-earlier quarter.
John Herrema, a senior vice president at Good Technology, said businesses probably preferred iOS over Android because of the overall simplicity of managing iPhones and iPads as opposed to Android devices.
He explained that many models of smartphones and tablets are running different versions of Android, which makes it difficult to manage them, whereas iOS is a more unified platform.
He said the growth of iOS was largely driven by companies that permitted their employees to bring their own devices to the office. In the last quarter, the iPhone was the best-selling smartphone for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint; many of these customers probably use their iPhones in the workplace, Herrema said.
Jan Dawson, a mobile analyst at Ovum, said the near future for Android looked grim. He explained that iPhone purchases were surging in the US due to the handset's availability on multiple carriers.
Previously, the iPhone was exclusive to AT&T, but in the last year it became available to Verizon and Sprint customers. The iPhone also recently became available in China.
"Android's going to have a bad few months in the US," he said in an interview. "And in the whole world we'll continue to see dips in Android performance around the launches of new iPhones."
©2012 The New York Times News Service