Android: Great for the Enterprise?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 06, 2009

At this year’s Cebit, Reinhard Clemens, CEO of Deutsche Telekom’s large businesses division T-Systems, apparently criticised Windows Mobile — while giving thumbs up to rival Android software for mobile phones.

The comments are interesting, as they seem to shed new light on the future of Android as software for corporate users vs. only consumers. They also may indicate that more of Microsoft’s corporate supporters are starting to look elsewhere, to alternative software and devices like the iPhone, which also offers access to corporate e-mail.

The comments seem to imply that Android, the software for mobile phones developed by a consortium of companies including Google, can meet the strict standards of corporate users. That’s somewhat unexpected. Android was initially developed for consumers. It was expected to support cool applications like games and social networking. But really, there’s no reason why Android can’t offer robust corporate e-mail access, or to allow users to leaf through presentations as well as Windows Mobile or the iPhone’s software.

As more Android-based phones come out in the next few months, Android could become more of a threat to BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and to the iPhone, also aggressively pushing into the corporate market. By the way, consultant Informa Telecom & Media just issued a forecast predicting that sales of Android-based devices will surpass those of the iPhone by 2012. Perhaps corporate buyers will be a part of this stampede.

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Reader Comments

JLRivers

March 6, 2009 10:46 PM

What's the big deal when communication devices created solely for consumers find their way into corporations? All they need to do is to support the necessary protocols that would allow the device to connect to a email server via either PUSH or POP stacks. Unlike a few years ago, those protocols are easy to implement in the devices by the manufacturer.

Frank Castle

March 8, 2009 08:33 PM

Unless they connect to either Blackberry BES (no likely) or Exchange ActiveSync (possible) I highly doubt you will ever see Android as a major option in enterprise.

Most large companies have already established a standard with either Windows Mobile or Blackberry and any CIO in the current business world is not about to want to support yet another mobile platform.

You will likely see a huge growth in CONSUMER mobile devices but they will be limited in their personal liable devices connecting to the corporate network.

But I guess most people just bring their own laptop to work with them everyday and there are no security concerns right?

Jo Ritter

March 12, 2009 04:13 PM

Mobile Email is undoubtfully the no one application in the white collar enterprise segment. Thus, without MS Exchange, RIM or IBM Lotus support, Android might have a hard time finding acceptance. However, in contrast to the iPhone platform, nothing prevents the market to develop such clients and I'd be surprised if the development is not being carried out already.

Secondly, mobile enterprise also comprises the industry or blue collar segment which is primarily dominated by Win Mobile these days. My take is that sooner or later OEMs of special purpose devices will integrate Android as well, why should they not. Android certainly has a good value prop for these markets.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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