Users rule in smartphone picks, but IT has a big hand in tablets

Enterprise survey shows iOS rules but not for long, and IT expresses interest in WebOS

Mobile device management provider Good Technology's latest quarterly survey of the devices its thousands of customers manage through Good's tool shows clearly that users -- not companies -- select their own smartphones, a strong confirmation that the "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend is not just a temporary trend but is becoming the norm. (Good says the majority of its customers have already adopted BYOD.)

But when it comes to tablets, businesses are driving adoption just as strongly as individual employees are, Good's analysis shows. Individuals bring in their own iPads, which IT can manage as if they were iPhones, and IT is testing or deploying iPads for sales forces and field forces. Health care workers and salespeople are among those to whom IT is actively deploying iPads, said John Herrema, executive VP for strategy at Good.

[ Compare and customize your own smartphone ratings and tablet ratings with InfoWorld's online calculators. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights via Twitter and with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

iPhones rule today, but Android smartphones are heading to the majorityThe top devices used by Good's customers -- primarily in health case, financial services, government, and professional services -- are the various iPhone models, accounting for about half of the user base. iPads accounted for another 20 percent.

The Verizon iPhone 4 and iPad 2 releases both boosted iOS installations in the quarter, but the long-term momentum remains with Android smartphones. Good expects the Android smartphone adoption as a percentage of managed devices to surpass the iPhone's share this year. Currently, roughly twice as many iPhones are in place than Android devices at Good's customers.

The reason for the Android upswing is due to the fact that employees pick their own smartphones. "It's less about the platform than what users want and what carrier relationships [such as family plans] are in place," Herema said. The fact that the top Android devices change each quarter shows the extent of the consumer-driven nature of smartphone purchases, even in the larger enterprises that typify Good's customer base. (The one Android device that has remained popular over the last year, likely due to its "world phone" capability, is the Motorola Droid 2 Global.)

WebOS has high interest within ITGood does not track BlackBerry or Windows Phone 7 devices, as its management tool does not manage those devices; Windows Mobile and Symbian devices have fallen to negligible levels, and WebOS devices make a very small percentage of decices deployed. But Good is hearing increasing interest by IT in WebOS, as companies contemplate Hewlett-Packard's decision to make WebOS run on smartphones, tablets (later this year), and PCs (in 2012). Herema said that HP's existing relationships with IT help keep up interest in the WebOS platform.

Tablet momentum is very strong, driven by both individuals and businessesThe even bigger momentum, though, belongs to tablets, which Good expects to account for 30 percent of the devices its customers manage by the end of the year. Tablets already account for about 20 percent of device activations at Good's customers. The iPad is by far the major tablet in use -- especially in health care and financial services -- with 99 percent of the tablet activations. But Good is seeing Motorola Xoom tablets picking up adopters, and it expects that as more Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablets ship, Android tablet adoption will rise.

iPads are typically considered "+1" devices, Herrema said, used in addition to a laptop. A typical scenario is that an iPad is used on a short business trip as the sole device, and on longer trips, the laptop is used at the hotel each morning and evening, while the iPad accompanies the employee at meetings and on customer calls during the day.

This article, "Users rule in smartphone picks, but IT has a big hand in tablets," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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