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2020 - Apple, Android, Microsoft and 5G

Brown’s Bytes – Automatic Reply: Is There a Final Brown’s Byte This Year?

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

20th December 2019

As the world starts putting on their out of offices for the Christmas break, I thought I would recap a bit on where we are up to with mobile in 2019 and see what the big trends have been, as well as looking ahead to 2020.

Apple

Any conversation about Apple must focus on iOS 13. As I write this, we have the release of a Beta for iOS 13.3.1 just after the launch of iOS 13.3. The reason for this is simple – there is a rather large bug in iOS 13.3 (with the key feature that this release has around Parental Controls).

It caps off a pretty dreadful 3 months for Apple on the quality control front – simply put, iOS13 is the buggiest release they’ve ever put out and it is damaging their brand.

In fairness, Apple has acknowledged this and are working on their processes – in particular how testing is done.  We can only hope that this improves in 2020.

Android

So, Android continues to dominate overall in the smartphone market, but that domination is still yet to break through into the enterprise market – in particular here in the UK.

On paper, Android should now be the better fit for the enterprise market. There is a broad range of device choice for every possible requirement; all the way from ruggedised devices to top-end smartphones that are arguably superior to the Apple range. Add in the fact that Android can be controlled in many more detailed ways (that enterprises have asked for) and this should be a slam dunk for Android now.

And yet, it isn’t. I’ve spoken before about why this is, but it boils down to 3 main areas:

  1. Android is perceived as less secure. Now, this is a legacy issue, but the perception has hung on.
  2. Android is too fragmented. There are just too many options, versions, devices, variances between markets. IT Support functions run on standardisation – Android doesn’t fit.
  3. Updates. This is still a mess even after Google’s efforts to improve the time it takes to get updates out there.

So, in 2019 (as in years before) Google have continued to focus on the enterprise, but it’s still not working from what we see. To give you an idea of why I can give you a statistic from our Managed Service. Across the services that we run for many companies; we can see that Android accounts for just 2.5% of the devices under management. The rest is Apple.

Where Android is being considered, it is Samsung that tends to be the manufacturer of choice, but as you can see the vast majority continue to use Apple.

And for 2020, the challenges for Google are arguably getting worse. Fragmentation of Android is getting worse, not better, with China/US tensions directly impacting this.

For now, Apple remains the simplest way to standardise a mobile estate in the enterprise. 

Microsoft

Wait a minute, isn’t this about Mobile? Well, actually the last nail went in the Windows Phone coffin just this month with the platform going end of life on the 10th of December.

I actually rather liked the Windows Phone – it was (and remains) a brave attempt to do something different with the UI of the OS on mobile and in many ways, it hasn’t been bettered… yet (in my opinion anyway). Windows Phone (and BlackBerry 10 before it) showed that apps matter in the consumer lead marketplace of mobile, far more than the OS does in many ways.

But in the background, Microsoft has been very, very busy. Windows 10 on desktops/laptops/tablets is now very much capable of being managed like a mobile device. The recent announcements from Microsoft about MEM (Mobile Endpoint Management) show that this is a key area of focus for 2020 also. We’re already helping a number of companies get to grips with modernising Windows management.

AOB

Oh yes, anyone heard about 5G? Well not if you have an Apple device!!

5G has launched and welcome to the hype cycle. While 5G hasn’t really made an impact yet in the enterprise, 2020 will be different and you really do need to start planning for it.

Think about your 3-year deal with your carrier. Probably negotiated a shared data bundle for everyone to use… no way you could use all that is there?? Oh, trust me there is!

So more of the same in 2019 in some ways, but it’s definitely hotting up for 2020. Wearables, Windows, IoT, 5G… the “mobile” estate is just getting larger and more complex. Can’t wait personally!

Until then it’s time for me to put on the Out of Office and to say thanks for reading in 2019. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2020…