Android fragmentation is a support nightmare for enterprises and adding Android to an existing BYOD program generally instills trepidation and fear among IT. So why provide support for Android in the first place? Well, since more than half the world uses Android, we pretty much have to.
But perhaps there’s a better way. What if Android wasn’t a BYOD strategy option, but part of a choose-your-own-device (CYOD) offering? There’s a compelling new hypothesis from Asymco’s Horace Dediu that should influence your thinking around this question.
Source: “The new switchers”, Asymco, 2015
In light of Tim Cook’s comments about the increase of Android to Apple switchers, Dediu asserts it’s facile to assume all growth stems from declines in other platforms or from non-smartphone users (the graph on the left). He posits that what’s really happening is that non-smartphone users start with Android devices while Apple’s growth derives from existing smartphone users.
Since this seems to be a consumer mode of switching, what relevance does it have to the enterprise? New phones ship with the latest version of Android, so we’re all good, right? Not exactly. Users upgrading to their first smartphones are generally less discerning and more likely to select a low-cost phone they think does what they want—the Toyota Corolla of phones, if you will. Those phones may run KitKat or Lollipop (though almost no phones run Lollipop currently) but often lack the memory, processing power, and sensors critical to the success of today’s enterprise apps. Apps that increase productivity by targeting micro-moments in an employee’s day, for instance.
If you accept Dediu’s hypothesis—and it seems more than reasonable that you should—then to best support Android your company should establish a minimum acceptable device level for all employees who want to participate. Hence CYOD, not BYOD. This method also serves to dramatically reduce the burden on your development, testing and support teams. So like Carl Spangler—in addition to total consciousness—you’ll have that going for you too.
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