From The Editor | April 29, 2012

3 Key Considerations For Android

Sarah HowlandBy Sarah Howland, Editor In Chief, Field Technologies magazine

I’ve talked with some of our readers recently, and from those conversations I’ve learned that Android is a topic you want to learn more about. With the uncertainty surrounding Windows and iOS not being a fit for every organization, Android may very well become the alternative you turn to in the future. In fact, according to a recent release from IDC Research, the Windows/X86 platform will slip from a 35.9% share in 2011 down to 25.1% in 2016, losing the OS lead to Android-based devices running on ARM CPUs. That said, you have to keep in mind that these statistics include consumer-grade smartphones and media tablets. Regardless, the increasing popularity of Android is certainly something to be aware of and to become educated about. As you do, here are three important points to consider.

Android Offers Flexibility
As a Linux-based system, Android is an open-source platform that provides developers and OEMs flexibility and ample opportunities to customize. This flexibility enables a level of innovation that can be challenging to achieve with more constricting platforms. However, this “pro” of flexibility is met with a “con” in that Android doesn’t have much of the support that Windows does. Since its release, Android has introduced numerous upgrades and new releases, and it is often difficult for developers to find support for older versions.

How Secure Is Android? There’s no denying that security is a much bigger priority for enterprise users than it is for most consumers. With Android’s roots being in the consumer space, there is a fair amount of uncertainty regarding whether or not the platform can provide the level of security the enterprise needs.

From Windows To Android: Application Migration And Support
If you’re deploying your first mobile solution, you can start from the beginning with Android if you determine it is a good fit and not worry about this point. However, for most of you, you’re likely on a second or third generation of your mobile solution. And most of you are probably currently using Windows. So, it’s important to consider what the transformation will look like if you choose to migrate to Android. Does your software provider support Android? If so, what’s involved in the migration of your application from Windows to Android? If not, are you willing to select a different vendor and go through the process of rolling out an alternative software solution?

Many people in the industry I’ve talked with feel that while Android is making strides in the consumer space, it isn’t a viable enterprise platform. With numerous enterprise-grade hardware vendors announcing Android-based products, however, there’s certainly a case to be made otherwise.