Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes
18th December 2020
It’s time for the last Brown’s Byte of the year and I thought I would end the year with an update on Android.
I’ve been accused of not focusing on Android enough and if you look at posts this year it’s true that I have spent a lot of time talking about Apple and Microsoft. So, it’s time to redress the balance!
There is a reason for this…
Regular readers will know I have, on occasion anyway, spoken about the adoption of Android in the Enterprise (which is low). And I regularly come back to some core areas:
- Historically Android was deemed less secure than iOS “back in the day”
- Diversity/complexity of supporting Android
Let’s do a quick sitrep on all of these…
Now, Point 1 is really just legacy now, but it’s a legacy that is still being felt as it perhaps stopped Android gaining momentum in the early days with organisations. Apple gained a foothold and hasn’t really let go…
Point 2 is what it is. There are pros & cons to have such a diverse eco-system of devices. Areas outside of office working have massively embraced Android due to the availability of rugged devices, or due to the extra controls available on the OS. Enterprise has perhaps had less need for anything other than a standard smartphone and has tended to stick to Apple partly because of its more one size fits all approach.
Point 3 is usually the core reason why Android is in the mix. Historically Android devices at £250 can look very attractive compared to Apple at £600, except Apple has slowly been working on this. The release of the iPhone SE2 this year has brought Apple to a point where they can now compete in this area of the market also.
Finally, Point 4 is the big one! I have spoken before about how this has been Android’s Achilles heel for years now. Sounds obvious, but patches need to be:
- Available in a timely manner
- Available to all devices in the estate at the same time
- Available for the entire lifespan of each device
This is where Apple has just killed Android for years. As Enterprises look to sweat their smartphone estate for 3 years plus, it’s vital they get patched…and that’s 3 years from when that device was bought, not from when it was introduced by the manufacturer!
In fairness to Google, they’ve been trying to fix this for years and the situation has improved, but it remains far from perfect and nowhere near Apple’s update cycles.
So, the release of good news from Google this week about an update to “Project Treble” is worth a look. The blog details what is hopefully (finally) the way Google will go about closing the patching gap down. The plan is to ensure that a device will receive 3 “major” software updates after release and patching for a year after that (treble plus one). That’s a total lifespan of 4 years.
The clock starts from device launch, but so long as Enterprises keep their device choices refreshed on an annual basis, they should still have a 3-year lifespan.
As is always the case we now need to wait for this to filter out into the Android ecosystem starting with Android 11 and you will need to check to be sure that the device you’re ranging has these benefits, but even so, this is good news.
Will it move the dial back towards Android here in the UK Enterprise market? Personally, I’m not sure it moves the dial enough, but Google is ensuring there are now less and less reasons not to range Android.
And don’t forget the overall smartphone market in the UK is still split pretty evenly 50/50 between Apple and Android – there are a LOT of people out there who are happy with Android.
Maybe 2021 is the year when things do start to shift. As always, please do get in touch if you’d like help with ranging your next fleet of devices (whatever the flavour).
And in the meantime, I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I think we could all do with the break! See you in 2021!!