Corporations go gaga over Android

Business adoption of smartphones running Google's mobile OS rises 60 per cent since May, says market researcher

Corporations are jumping on the Google smartphone bandwagon, with Android device growth outpacing Apple's iPhone 20-fold in the last three months, a market researcher said today.

An August survey of over 1,600 corporate IT buyers conducted by ChangeWave Research found that 16 per cent of those polled said their firms were using Android-based smartphones. That's a six-point jump since May, representing a 60 per cent increase in three months.

During the same period, the number of IT purchasers who said that their companies used Apple's iPhone climbed one point to 31 per cent, an increase of just over 3 per cent.

Research in Motion continues to be the most popular smartphone manufacturer in corporate circles, said Paul Carton, who heads the research side at ChangeWave. BlackBerry devices are present in 66% of the surveyed companies. That's a drop of three points and a slide of 4 per cent since May.

Carton called Android the "clear momentum winner" among mobile operating systems in the workplace, but said that iOS, which powers Apple's iPhone, "remains strong."

ChangeWave's totals exceeded 100 per cent because some firms support multiple mobile operating systems.

Other analysts and experts have also tagged Android as a fast-charging competitor to the iPhone and BlackBerry.

Earlier this month, Gartner said Google's OS will blow by RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iOS during 2010, and will be in the No. 2 spot behind only Nokia's Symbian operating system.

Gartner predicted that Android will be in a photo-finish race with Symbian by 2014.

Rival research firm IDC has also said that Android smartphone sales are booming, and pegged its global share at 16 per cent by the end of this year, with Symbian at 40 per cent, BlackBerry with 18 per cent and iOS at 15 per cent.

ChangeWave's data is different than Gartner's and IDC's because its surveys are U.S.-only.

Both HTC and Motorola are reaping the benefits of the surge in corporate smartphone adoption, said Carton in an e-mail. "HTC has soared six points in terms of corporate buying plans to a new all-time high..., triple its share of nine months ago," he said, referring to the results of queries asking which manufacturer -- HTC or Motorola -- would be selected for business purchase in the next three months.

HTC makes and sells a plethora of Android-based phones, including the Droid Incredible and EVO 4G.

Fifteen percent of corporate buyers said that they would purchase a Motorola smartphone in the next 90 days, a jump of three points since May. Motorola released the Droid X in July and the Droid 2 in August.

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Gregg Keizer

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