The Changing of the Smartphone Guard

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Seven Sexy Smartphones

This latest batch of smartphones calls attention to glasses-free 3D technology, front- and rear-facing cameras and Snapdragon processors.

Time is compressed in telecommunications. It was only a few short years ago that the enterprise smartphone category - or its precursor - was dominated by Research In Motion's BlackBerry. Apple focused on consumer desktop devices.

That has all changed, of course. Apple has transformed itself into a mobile company and BlackBerry, while still a major player, could name a report on its last half decade "A Series of Unfortunate Events" if the title wasn't already taken by the kids' book series by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler).

The circle has been completed, at least according to iPass. The firm said that the iPhone has moved ahead of BlackBerry as the top enterprise smartphone. The Apple device, it said, is used by 45 percent of mobile employees. BlackBerry now has a 32 percent share, down from 35 percent last year. Indeed, Apple's 10 percent lead suggests the two firms' share numbers crossed a while ago. The press release doesn't elaborate, however. (The other interesting finding is that 95 percent of mobile workers have smartphones, and all but 4 percent use them for business.)

Computerworld blogger Jonny Evans notes the popularity of Apple products and the general growth of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approaches - which, of course, are a major reason Apple suddenly is so popular at work - as a jumping-off point for a discussion of a coming product from Cortado, which focuses on making the underlying differences in operating systems immaterial to the ability of employees to collaborate. IT Business Edge also offered a look at some Apple enterprise applications.

It is well known, of course, that enterprise use of Apple products - mobile and desktop - has been growing by leaps and bounds.

Last month, mobility security and management vendor Good Technology offered numbers in its quarterly data report. In the third quarter, the firm said, Android grew in enterprise activations, though the likely reason was thought to be that people were awaiting the iPhone 4S. That theory appeared to be confirmed by a 25 percent increase in iPhone 4S daily activations compared to iPhone 4 activations on the first weekend of the newer device's availability.

The iPass finding is, to a great extent, not news. Everyone knows that use of Apple products in the enterprise has exploded. However, the milestone is a good time to reflect on how radically things have changed. Back when BlackBerry dominated, control was centralized with the organization. Mobility was tightly controlled from the inside out. The revolution kicked off by Apple and the vendors pushing back against it has opened the door to a world of new and innovative vendors. Perhaps, more importantly, it has moved control from a few IT gatekeepers to the people who actually use the tools. And that's a good thing.

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