Android Vs iOS for Business Applications

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Android Vs iOS
for Business Applications

by Michael Gariffo

Docid: 00021007

Publication Date: 2110

Report Type: PRODUCT


The battle between Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS has
always been a
heated one, with passionate followers on both sides often lashing out at anyone
who would dare suggest their mobile platform of choice is inferior to its
rival. Unfortunately, the result is that many discussions of each systems’ relative virtues devolve into shouting matches with words like "fanboy"
being tossed around and very little usable information offered. This is
problematic enough for the personal shopper trying to decide on a smartphone or
tablet platform; it could prove disastrous for a decision maker
trying to determine the future of a company’s entire fleet of mobile
devices. The purpose of this report is to help IT staff, chief technology
officers, and other decision makers break through the prejudices that have built
up around both Android and iOS to determine which platform, with all of its
inherent flaws and benefits, is best for their individual needs.

Report Contents:


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Business technology buyers face a very different set of choices than their
private consumer counterparts. Whether deciding on the mobile strategy of a
major enterprise or simply researching a few mobile devices for a mom-and-pop
business, the stakes for each shopper are extremely high. Not only do business
purchasers have to worry about pleasing the end user of the device, they
must also take into account features and factors that never occur
to the average shopper. Issues such as available mobile security products,
inherent security flaws and weaknesses, built-in customizability, and available
communications options are just the beginning of what must be considered when seeking the correct mobile platform for a business’ employees. 

Faulkner Reports
Apple Company Profile
Mobile Devices
Company Profile
Mobile Devices

To help in the grueling task of choosing a mobile platform, this report will
examine the two most popular mobile operating systems, Android and iOS. The
review will be based on
a number of factors that are paramount to business device shoppers. These will
be examined one at a time with the strengths and weaknesses of each platform
examined within each category. Although a definitive winner
between the two offerings may emerge in some cases, most areas of comparison
will show one platform to be better suited to a particular type of
business customer while its competitor may be a better fit for others. The
factors being examined in this report will include:

  • Security – Including features, flaws, and available third-party
  • Customizability – Including hardware and software options.
  • Messaging and Communications – Examining Wi-Fi and cellular
    messaging options.
  • Ease of Use – Focusing primarily on end user comfort.
  • Repair and Maintenance – Relating to availability of repairs,
    turnaround time, etc.
  • Cost – Initial device costs.


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While the average private user is, of course,
concerned about the privacy and safety of the data stored on their devices as
well as the security of the communications handled by them, the stakes are much
higher for a business device shopper. Not only must the user’s own information
be guarded from intrusion, but customer data needs to be protected as well. Unfortunately, theft
of and unauthorized access to a business’ mobile devices are one of the most common
vectors for malefactors to access sensitive data. Although no organization can
100 percent guarantee that they will never suffer an incident of this type, there are
many ways in which they can be prevented or mitigated. Security measures come in the form of first- and third-party solutions, both
of which will be outlined below for both Android and iOS. 


First-Party Features and Solutions 

Lock Screen – The first line of
defense for any mobile device is the lock screen. In this area, Android
generally has more
varied options that its iOS counterparts. Although specific unlock features do vary from vendor
to vendor, nearly all of them include, at the very least, a pin-based
lock screen, a password-based lock screen, and a pattern-based lock screen. The
last of these, which may be unfamiliar to some, shows a series of dots through
which the user draws a unique pattern that can later be replicated to unlock the
device. Whichever security method a user chooses, it is the most basic measure
that should be taken by business users, and is, thankfully, a free option
available on all modern Android device. 

It is also worth noting that most Android vendors now
include additional methods of unlocking a device, including the proximity of a
connected Bluetooth accessory, fingerprint scanning, iris and facial
recognition, tapping patterns, and other
procedures. However,
these are only available on a portion of the Android device market,
unlike the methods listed above, which are ubiquitous. 

Remote Locating, Locking, and Wiping – Despite
employees’ best efforts, mobile devices often go missing or are stolen. This
leads to a grave data loss risk if the affected device was not properly locked
or secured. The most important and easiest remedy in this situation is the
device’s recovery. To this end, Google provides a first-party solution known as
Android Device Manager on its Google Play storefront. The app allows anyone with
Web access and the correct sign-in info to locate a lost or stolen device,
assuming it is still powered on. If the device cannot
be immediately recovered, or is in the hands of a malicious party, it can either be locked
until recovered or completely wiped of sensitive data. Although not an
iron-clad solution, this can prevent many catastrophes for no additional cost to
the device’s owner. 

OS Level Protection – Like Apple’s
iOS, Google’s Android has included built-in
encryption features since the release of Android 5.0, Lollipop. This means that user data and messages are encrypted so
that third parties, including law enforcement officials, should not be
able to decode the information on the device without prior user authorization. In addition to this, all Google-branded services that
interact with a user’s
personal information require a login and password for access. In most cases,
these can be further secured by activating Google’s two-factor authentication on
services like its Google Drive cloud-based storage product and Gmail. Finally, Google
restricts the installation of applications from untrusted sources by default.
Although this feature can be disabled at the user’s behest, its presence
prevents one of the most common infection vectors by preventing the installation
of questionable apps from untrusted third-party sources. 

Third-Party Solutions

Samsung – Samsung has been somewhat of a
leader in promoting Android as a business-ready OS, despite some early concerns
over the platform’s security. The company’s offerings are marketed under its
Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) brand, and revolve around a series of
called Samsung Knox. The Knox security service, named for the famous gold
depository, attempts to secure an Android device in several ways. First, it
offers a layer of protection against malware and viruses designed specifically
for Android devices. Second, it creates a partition between the
business-oriented data, and the private data stored on a single device. Lastly,
it provides an array of Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities that allow
each employer to tailor the permissions available to users on the business-side
of their devices. In a business market where BYOD (bring your own device)
deployments are becoming more common, this division of personal and business data is increasingly
important. Shortly after its release, Samsung Knox was approved by National Security Agency (NSA) under a
program designed to vet commercially available technology for government agency

Other Vendors – Although Samsung’s Knox
may be the most popular and comprehensive security suite for Android, a wide
selection of security-centric apps are also available for the platform, many of
which are published by well-known security firms experienced in protecting PCs
and other devices. These offerings include antivirus and anti-malware solutions
from Kaspersky, McAfee, Avast, AVG, and Norton. Pricing on these apps is
generally subscription-based, with the cost ranging from $14.99 per year to
$29.99 per year, with discounts typically available for volume users. There are, however, well regarded solutions that
are available at no cost, such as 360 Security, Bitdefender, CM Security, and
others. A business shopper should consider both free and paid solutions to
determine which one best suits their needs based on their particular budget and
risk factors. 

Security Flaws and Risks

Android was thought of as a major security risk
early in its lifecycle. Although there is some truth to this idea, the concerns
were often blown out of proportion thanks to marketing efforts from Apple and
Blackberry, which was still a competitor at the time. In truth, Android is based around a somewhat less secure kernel than
Apple’s iOS. This is due to the fact that the operating system itself is built on open source code. Although this is wonderful for developers, it also means
that malicious parties have full access to the underlying structure of the operating system
and they can research ways to circumvent
built-in security measures. Despite this, "hacking" someone’s Android tablet or smartphone
is still not by any means a simple matter and delivering a malicious piece of
software or attachment is still extremely difficult. However, it is
entirely possible for a user to receive or be directed to a seemingly legitimate
but malicious .apk file (the file extension used for Android application
installations), which could then be installed on the device to provide
unauthorized data access, rack up premium charges, spy on messaging
conversations, or listen in to phone calls. 

As mentioned above, the installation of
applications from untrusted sources is prevented by default in Android.
However, this protection does not apply if the app in question was obtained via
Google’s own Google Play store. Unfortunately, Google’s more open approach to
running its app store has led to the presence of malicious
applications within Google Play. Although the issue is at only a fraction of the
severity it once was, harmful apps do occasionally make their way onto the
official app store. Google is diligent about removing such security risks, once
exposed. But that is often too late for the few users unlucky enough to
have been affected. 

In reality, Google Play poses relatively little
danger to a device, especially if even a little common sense is applied to which
apps are downloaded and what information is provided to those apps. All app
installations occurring via Google Play provide users with a complete list of
what data the application will be accessing. If an application seems to be
attempting to use data it has no reason to interact with, a game attempting to
access a user’s call log for instance, then it should simply not be installed.
There will, of course, be cases where the security risks are not as obvious.
This is where something like Samsung’s Knox or another MDM solution can come
into play by restricting the applications that can be installed on a smartphone
or tablet by vendor, source, and other factors. 

A much graver concern for Android users
comes in the form of flaws within the code of the operating system itself. These
security holes, although still relatively rare, can occur across the entirety of
modern Android devices, and can be extremely hard to mitigate or correct. One of
the most well-known instances of a flaw of this type was
an issue dubbed "Stagefright." This security blunder allowed malicious
parties to gain remote access to a user’s Android device simply by sending a
malware-laced video messages to the user. Once opened, the message would execute
code on the target devices, giving the hacker access to the unit, and
potentially locking out its legitimate owner. The ramifications are frightening,
particularly given the relatively simple delivery system, and the difficulty of
protecting a device when literally any incoming message could pose a threat.
However, the real issue here is not the existence of Stagefright, or any other
single flaw. It is, instead, the difficulty of patching such flaws on the
Android platform. 

Any networked technology can suffer from security flaws. However, most of
them can be mitigated by the manufacturer of that technology via a patch or
update. Due to the de-centralized nature of Android devices, this is a much,
much harder task. Assuming a flaw is discovered by Google, they must then issue
a patch for the stock Android kernel. Although this would immediately be
available to owners of the company's own Pixel line of the devices, it would not
be compatible with Android devices from third-party manufacturers, nor would it
be available to owners of carrier-branded models. For these individuals to
receive the update, it must first be analyzed and approved by each manufacturer,
for each carrier variant of each device they make. If this task sounds daunting,
it is. The process often takes months, and frequently skips over older models to
save time. The resulting gap between when a flaw is discovered and when it is
corrected can often leave millions of users out in the cold for weeks or months.
Google has launched various initiatives to mitigate this issue, ranging from
issuing its own security bulletins for third-party devices and services, to
providing direct updates for third-party smartphones based on the stock version
of Android. However, it still remains up to specific device makers and carriers
to ultimately ensure that these measures benefit end users.


First-Party Features and Solutions

Lock Screen – Like Android, iOS provides several methods of
unlocking a device’s screen. Among these are the traditional pin and password
unlock, as well as a
pattern-based unlock feature much like Android’s. Meanwhile, the latest iPhones,
the iPhone X series and all newer models, as well as recent models of iPad
Pro, also include facial recognition, or Face ID. On a more common basis, all recent generation
standard iPads, as well as the five generations of iPhone
prior to the 2018 class also feature
fingerprint sensors. These sensors, dubbed Touch ID by Apple, allow users to
record their own fingerprints, or those of other authorized users, which can
then be compared to the digit contacting the iPhone or iPad’s home button. If a
match to one of the recorded fingers is found, the device will unlock. If not,
the user will be asked to provide a more traditional password or pin to unlock
the device. It’s worth mentioning that Touch ID and Face ID are also integrated into
third-party applications, removing the need for passwords in many cases and is
an integral part of Apple’s Apple Pay mobile payment platform. 

Remote Locating, Locking, and Wiping – Apple
pioneered the concept of allowing remote access to a user’s device in the event
that it is lost or stolen. Find My iPhone (now a part of the Find My app) is
still the gold standard for this type of product, with the longest history of
providing device recovery and protection. It includes the same selection of
options as Android Device Manager: Ringing the lost device, locking it until
recovery, and wiping its data. Apple has extended this functionality over the
years to include not only its iPhone and iPad models, but also its AirPod
headphones, and AirTag locators, meaning users can find not only their
smartphones, but any device or even object (with an accompanying AirTag) they
wish to be able to locate through the platform.

OS Level Protection – Apple’s greatest
form of OS level protection is derived from one of the same aspects of its
operating system that can potentially make it a poor fit for some business
customers: Its closed ecosystem. Unlike Android, which has countless developers
and contributors providing code, iOS is wholly and completely Apple’s
proprietary work. This provides a substantial amount of protection by requiring
any malicious party to essentially reverse engineer iOS itself in order to
attempt unauthorized incursions. This is no small task, and it has proven
unlikely enough that Apple’s iOS has been found to account for less than one percent of all
mobile malware2. Apple extends that same walled-garden approach to its App Store. While this
prevents the availability of some types of apps that are common on Google Play,
it also almost guarantees that no third-parties will be able to slip harmful
software past Apple’s approval process. On the very rare occasion that a
potentially harmful app has been found on Apple’s storefront, it has been dealt
with swiftly. Lastly, Apple also prevents the installation of any applications,
whatsoever, from any source other than its own app store. Once again, this
results in trading the freedom characteristic of Android’s philosophy for the
additional security of Apple’s. 

On a separate but highly related note, Apple’s
sole control of the operating systems for iOS means that if a security flaw
should become apparent it can issue a fix for it immediately to all affected
iOS devices, where an Android device owner may have to wait weeks or even
months for the manufacturer of their devices as well as their particular wireless
carrier (in the case of smartphones of cellular tablets) to approve a simple
security update. 

Third-Party Solutions

Thanks to Apple’s aforementioned closed-source
approach, third-party security solutions are much less common on iOS than they
are on Android. It is an arguable point whether this is a positive or negative
factor. On one hand, Apple’s platform may just be secure enough on its own that
no additional protection is needed. On the other, it may be that Apple’s
iron-fisted control of its own OS is preventing third-parties from mitigating
intrusions that could have otherwise been prevented by an added security

In reality, Apple’s built-in safeguards will protect the vast majority of
users from ever facing much, if any, mobile malware. However, they do very little
to guard against more simplistic attacks, such as scam emails, phishing, and
social engineering incursions. To this end, there are several MDM solutions
available that can mitigate risks to a certain extent. Unfortunately, Apple’s
closed-source approach once again curtails the abilities of these solutions to
do more by restricting their access to the deepest levels of its operating
system – levels that would be accessible in an Android device.

Security Flaws and Risks

The lack of malware risks has already been well
covered in this section. However, as previously stated, this still leaves Apple
devices vulnerable to more traditional phishing attacks and related crimes. This
can, of course, be said of essentially any Web-connected device and is by no
means exclusive to smartphones and tablets running iOS. What is, however, very
much exclusive to Apple’s devices are the crime rates associated with them. The
theft of Apple-branded smartphones and tablets has become prevalent enough that
"Apple Picking" has entered the vernacular as a euphemism for the
theft of an iPad or iPhone. It may seem like a strange factor to consider but,
in the same way that certain models of cars are considered more high-risk due to
their theft rates, Apple’s phones and tablets are a prime target for thieves. A study by the UK’s Home Office found that more than 50
percent of all devices
stolen in the London Metro area between August 1, 2012 and January 5, 2014 were
iPhones, with the "desirability" of the phone being blamed for the high
crime rate.3 While this may be an unfortunate factor to have to
consider, the reality is that businesses, especially those with employees
working in areas with unusually high crime rates, should be aware of this fact
and adjust their device purchasing strategies accordingly. 


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The needs of each business customer can vary
greatly, with the requirements of a given business often bearing little or no
resemblance to another firm, even if they exist within the same market or
sector. In order to accommodate these differences, a mobile operating system
must offer a certain amount of flexibility within its software and, to a lesser
degree, its hardware. This could be something as simple as offering a wide
selection of mobile apps or something as complicated as including the
possibility of altering the very basis of the operating system itself. In any
case, the more customizable a given mobile platform is, the more likely it is to
suit the needs of all business customers considering it for use. 


To be frank, Android’s flexibility may be the
single greatest advantage it has over iOS. Where Apple attempts to control all
aspects of iOS, from its basic code to the apps available for it, Google has
taken a much more hands-off approach. Instead of meddling with third-party
developers’ plans, the company has encouraged the use and alteration of its
basic operating system by smartphone and tablet makers as well as by major
enterprises and government agencies. This has led to well known
"forked" versions of Android, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire OS, as well
as simpler re-skins of the operating system including HTC’s Sense UI and
Samsung’s TouchWiz and other iterations. There is, of course, a downside to this diversification. One
of the most frequent complaints about Android is that it is
"fragmented," meaning that developers must struggle to design their
applications to run on hundreds or thousands of device and OS combinations.
Where the majority of Apple’s iOS users apply a new platform update within
months of their release, versions of Android released years ago can still be found
on millions of devices. This diversification of programming needs will likely
only get worse once dual-screen or folding smartphone device begin to catch on,
adding yet another wrinkle for already-stressed devs to contend with. This is
all, as stated above, unfortunate for
security matters. However, it is, arguably, a necessary evil when it comes to
allowing for the freedom needed to tailor an Android device for a client’s
particular needs. 

Examples of Android’s customization capabilities
include base-level OS access for third-party security solutions; customized
versions of the Android OS itself, often featuring components that the default
Android or device manufacture versions lack; and even the creation of
custom-made hardware for a particular client’s requirements. Although not all of
these options will be open to businesses of all sizes, it should be comforting
for large business and enterprise customers to know that, with the right budget,
nearly anything is possible when choosing Android as their platform.
One of the best examples of this ultimate level of customization occurred in 2011 when Dell designed a version
of Android with a hardened kernel for use by the US military in battlefield
situations, a redesign that would have never been even remotely possible on iOS.4 


Where customizability is arguably Android’s
greatest strength, it is almost certainly iOS’ greatest weakness. Once again,
Apple’s closed-off approach to accessing its operating system provides a greater
basic level of security and stability, but does so at the cost of extensibility
and optional add-ons. To this point, Apple has never allowed any third parties
to alter, customize, or reskin its operating system or any component thereof.
The sole, rather meager, exception to this is the introduction of the ability to
change home screen icons and the default apps used for certain categories, both
introduced with the release of iOS 14.

That said, there are certain ways in which iOS
can be tailored to individual users. The operating system is certainly at no
lack for third-party applications. Apple was one of the first companies to
launch its own mobile app store, and that shows in the millions of applications available today. There are certain apps that are
restricted or banned, according to Apple’s policies, including emulators,
anything with content or subject matter that is deemed inappropriate, and many apps that duplicate or attempt to replace any aspect of Apple’s basic operating
system. There are partial exceptions to the last rule; e-reading apps, for instance, are
allowed on the App Store, despite arguably duplicating the function of Apple Books.
In more recent years, Apple has finally allowed a few of the basic functions of
its smartphones and tablets to be replaced as a device's default solution.
Still, this option is not nearly as comprehensive as its Android counterpart,
and is limited to the default Web browser and email app. Meanwhile, Android
users can change just about any default app, including their messaging app and

 On the hardware front, Apple’s iPhone and iPad
lines are the sum total of what is available for iOS mobile devices. No
customized hardware using iOS has ever been produced, nor is it likely to be
produced in the foreseeable future. 

Messaging and Communications

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Although tablets and especially smartphones have
evolved to fulfill an ever-greater number of roles, they are still, at their
heart, communications devices. For tablets, this means the availability of email
and messaging, with some VoIP (Voice over IP) options, while, for smartphones,
it entails traditional voice, e-mail, and text messaging. Although both Android
and iOS offer a variety of options in all of these areas, there are certain very
important differences between the two platforms, particularly among their
default messaging platforms. 


While the default messaging app on Android
smartphones varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, the most up-to-date first-party offering is Google’s
Messages application. This app, which has replaced Google’s Hangouts and Allo messaging software as part of its default app bundle, provides many of the
same advanced messaging features as third-party platforms, including changeable
font sizes, the ability to add stickers and animated .gif files to messages, and
the option to text from any Web-connected PC that the user has logged into.

It is worth noting that sending SMS
messages requires a cellular signal in most cases. Although certain carriers in
the US and abroad support voice and messaging over Wi-Fi, many are still unable
to transmit a text via anything but a traditional cell signal. This is an
important distinction as it would mean that users in areas with little or no
cell reception must fall back onto communicating via something like Facebook
Messenger or WhatsApp. While
this is by no means a true hardship, given the simplicity of adopting the
platform, it does somewhat limit the users with whom the person can communicate,
especially if an appropriate third-party account was not configured for the target
contact. Again, this would only apply in situations where the sender was
not able access any cellular signal whatsoever. 

With the growing importance of unified, multi-platform messaging, it is wise
to take the aforementioned factors into account. Simply put, the more devices on
which users can communicate across a single platform, the more likely it is that
a given employee will be able to quickly reach the contact they need to, when
they need to. To this end, Android also has several third-party options that
increase the versatility of its messaging platform. Thanks to the low-level OS
access that Google provides to developers, users can either replace their
default text messaging app and can extend those messaging capabilities onto
other platforms. Two of the most popular extensions in this arena were, for a
long time, MightyText and PushBullet. Both offerings are still available in the form of a mobile
app with a companion Google Chrome extension. When a message is received on a
connected smartphone it
will appear as a pop-up notification on the connected PC running Chrome. This
pop-up can then be used to reply to the message without ever having to
physically interact with the phone or tablet that received the original SMS.
Ultimately, this may be more of a convenience feature than a must-have business
tool. However, the fewer messages that go missed by employees, the less wasted
time is spent tracking down a co-worker whose attention is needed. This
convenience this smartphone-to-PC messaging connection provided was so important
to many users that Microsoft, Samsung, and Google itself have since launched their own
solutions, allowing users to text from nearly any Web-connected PC once set up.

A variety of first- and third-party VoIP and video calling solutions
are also available for Android, including Google’s own Duo video chat app, and
popular products such as Vonage.


The default messaging app for iOS is called
simply Messages. Formerly known as iMessage, this app and accompanying platform
offers users access to both SMS and iMessage-based messaging. Where SMS messages
have all the same features and drawbacks as they always have, messages sent over
Apple’s proprietary platform feature a number benefits. These include
being able to see when a message is being typed, a higher per-message character
limit, and being able to send messages via Wi-Fi when an adequate cell signal is
unavailable. Although this provides little additional benefit when trying to
communicate with users on a platform other than iOS, it does mean that, should
an entire company’s employee base be using iOS, they will never be out of touch
as long as some form of wireless connectivity is available. Certain
third-party carriers and Android-based smartphones have also begun to replicate
many of these additional features through the introduction of RCS-based (Rich
Chat Services-based) messaging, which also offers read receipts, typing
notifications, longer message lengths, and more. However, the disparate
collection of carriers and device makers supporting these features make it much
less likely an Android user will benefit from them during a conversation with
any given user.

The trend of versatility accompanied by being locked into Apple’s products
continues with its other messaging options. Like the aforementioned third-party
Android solutions, Apple makes it possible to communicate with other Messages
users via a selection of apps. This includes one for the iPad, iPod Touch, and
Mac OS-based PCs. Although this does provide additional versatility, it does not
do so to the same degree as Android’s solutions. The reason for this is that all
devices within a given company would need to be Apple products to use the
Messages platform seamlessly. Meanwhile, competing Android-based solutions being browser-based makes them compatible with a
variety of mobile and desktop operating systems, including Windows, OS X, and
even Linux.

VoIP solutions is one area where Apple has been
surprisingly liberal. In addition to supporting its own Facetime audio calls
over Wi-Fi, the company has also approved VoIP apps from several third-party
vendors. Google’s Duo is also available for iOS as well. 

Ease of Use

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For a private user, ease of use of their mobile
device means a lack of unwanted frustration in their day-to-day lives. For
business users, it could mean huge financial savings. Whether the device in
question is being used in a corporate setting or as part of a small business,
simply handing it to its end user is rarely enough to guarantee that it will
function properly. Training on using the device itself, as well as any accompanying
applications, is often needed for this purpose. The more complex the training
that is required, the more time is needed for it and the larger financial impact
it has on the company. To alleviate this, both Google and Apple have taken steps
over successive iterations of their operating systems to more gracefully
introduce new users to their platform and to reduce the number of missteps that
may be taken by a fledgling device owner. 


Android has never truly shaken its reputation for
being a "geekier" mobile operating system. This, in large part, is due
to the number of tweaks and customizations available for the platform. Although
this is great for those with the technical know-how to handle that level of
freedom, the less technically inclined may find themselves intimidated by the
possibility of "screwing up" their phone or tablet by doing the wrong
thing or changing the wrong setting. Although this is essentially no more
likely for most Android devices than it is for a given iOS devices, the concern
may still exist among employees. 

Another factor working against Android is once
again related to the numerous iterations and skins available for it. While a
user is accustomed to Samsung’s skinned version of Android, for instance, they
may find themselves lost when asked to switch to a device running Motorola's
skin, or even Google’s own stock Android. This can be mitigated somewhat by
consistently choosing devices that have little or no customization – such as
Google’s Pixel smartphones – or
by simply sticking with devices from a single hardware manufacturer. 

On the opposite side of the coin, Android’s
customizability once again shines in the ease of use category. An adequately
motivated company can theoretically make the version of Android deployed to its employees easier to use, if they choose to do so. This can be accomplished
by offering simplified versions of the normal Android launcher, installing more
consumer-friendly replacements for stock apps, and other measures made possible
by Android’s open-source nature. In fact, several smartphone manufacturers,
including Samsung, have experimented with offering a simplified version of their
operating system for beginning smartphone users. 


By most accounts, Apple’s platform is the easier
of the two to use "out-of-the-box." This is due to its relatively
lower number of apps and services the user is presented with on their first
start-up, as well as the fact that all pre-installed apps are strictly first-party
offerings. The singular App Store and walled garden approach do provide some
benefit here as well. Users can freely download apps with essentially no fear
that they may be exposing themselves or their employer to a security

Unlike Android users, iOS users gain the benefit
of being able to instantly pick up any Apple produced device and feel right at
home. Although major operating system updates generally occur once per year,
they are typically iterative enough that most users can pick up on and adjust
to any changes right away. This also provides the extra benefit of allowing an
employee that has been trained on an iPhone to immediately begin using an iPad
with no extra instruction, and vice-versa. 

Repairs and Maintenance

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Android’s status as a diversified platform used
by multiple device manufacturers makes it very difficult to paint a clear picture of
the repairs and maintenance landscape. Just taking
major vendors such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and Sony into account provides
a massive number of possible variations due to the wide selection of Android
smartphones and tablets produced by each. When more minor vendors, Android
version variations, and carrier differences are taken into account, the
situation becomes truly nightmarish. 

Thankfully, all major carriers in the US offer some level
of coverage for devices purchased through their own retail outlets. The
coverage on offer, as well as the cost, vary from carrier to carrier, as does the
devices it is willing to cover and the turnaround time available for repairs
and replacements. Similarly, some device manufacturers offer their own
protection plans. Both Google and Samsung operate programs which
offers rapid repair or replacement of a broken or malfunctioning device.
However, these offerings, like Android itself, must be taken on a case-by-base
basis, as each manufacturer offers them solely for their own products. 


It is hard to see Apple as anything but the clear
winner in this category. While it can boast all of the same available carrier
protection as its Android counterparts, the company’s unified product catalogue and
chain of retail stores provide numerous benefits over Android. First, Apple
offers its Apple Care+ warranties, which provide in-person and mail-in repairs
for iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and other Apple devices. This first-party
offering is among the most well regarded in the industry and offers one of
the shortest turnaround times. Quick responses are further
ameliorated by the availability of Apple Stores. All of the company’s retail
locations include "Genius Bars" where users can bring their
malfunctioning devices for examination or repair. Many of these repair and
replacement tasks can be handled during the same day, often with little or no
wait. For more complex issues, Apple will send the broken item away to one of
its repair centers, with an average turnaround time of three to five business
days. The repaired item can then be picked up at the store by the user. 


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The primary costs of owning and operating a
smartphone fleet are derived from its mobile carrier subscription. As these are
ubiquitous to all devices and do not differentiate between Android and iOS
handsets, this portion of the report will instead focus solely on the cost of
the devices themselves. It should be noted that all costs referenced below are
based on the standard retail price for each unit. No volume purchase discounts
that may apply to larger businesses and enterprises are taken into


Once again, the diverse number of Android devices available across the
various manufacturers and carriers make it difficult to determine the precise
cost a business can expect to pay. However, there are some definitive trends in
pricing among the various classes of Android devices available on the market. To
that end, we will examine average price for both smartphones and tablets,

  • Smartphones – Most flagship Android
    smartphones used to launch at the standard $199 price point, with a two-year carrier
    subsidy. This put them in direct competition with Apple’s iPhone
    model while also coming in under the $200 mark, which had proven a sweet
    spot for mobile devices since the days of the flip phone. There were, however,
    exceptions to this rule. Certain devices are considerably less costly,
    retailing for less than $200 without a
    carrier subsidy, as well as other older models and lower-end handsets that
    could be had for less than $100 or even for free with a two-year subsidy.
    However, now that all major carriers in the US have eliminated carrier subsidies in
    favor of installment-based pricing plans, the true cost of a phone is closer to its full retail value, as
    set by its manufacturer. Full
    retail prices for smartphones can range anywhere from $300 for a mid-range
    model, to over $1,000 for a new, flagship offering, or even closer to $2,000
    in the case of something exotic like the a folding-screen smartphone. That
    said, several manufacturers have released even their highest-end units at
    lower prices in recent years, particularly Motorola and lesser-known
    smartphone makers like OnePlus.
  • Tablets – Android tablets are even harder to put
    a consistent price on. Smaller models, typically with a 7-8 inch screen, can
    range anywhere from $50 to $299, while larger models, usually with a 9-10
    inch display, are priced more in line with Apple’s iPad – around
    $349 to $499. This price goes up among both classes when the tablet in
    question includes 4G or 5G connectivity. 


Thankfully, Apple’s pricing structure is much
more predictable, with nearly all of their current models following the same
pricing schemes they’ve been using for years. For its part, Apple has also
followed the growing industry trend of eschewing subsidized pricing in favor of
full price or installment-based purchases. Because of this, the most important
factor is the full retail cost of each model.

  • Smartphones – Apple’s newest flagship iPhone models are typically priced
    identically or slightly higher than
    its previous years’ offerings, with their full retail prices currently beginning at
    $699 for a 128GB iPhone 13 Mini (5.4-inch display), with the standard-sized version of that
    device rising to $799,. Meanwhile, the higher-end iPhone 13 Pro (6.1-inch display) begins at $999 for the
    128GB model
    with the 512GB version running customers $1,299. Meanwhile, the top of the
    line iPhone 13 Pro Max (6.7-inch display) begins at $1,099 for a 128GB unit,
    and ranges up to $1,599 for a 1TB model. However, Apple’s most
    popular iPhone line is often its slightly more
    budget-minded offerings that were released alongside the flagships like
    those mentioned above. In this year's case, that would be the iPhone SE. This unit is priced at a more reasonable $399 for a 64GB
    model, with its top tier storage option (128GB) coming in at $449. Apple
    also continues to sell older model iPhone devices at discounted prices,
    varying by age and storage size.
  • Tablets – Apple markets several
    models of tablet. It’s standard iPad line typically launches at $329 for
    a 364GB model, with an similar price increase to the iPhone tiers for
    additional storage. Meanwhile, the smaller iPad mini line is priced at $499 for the
    latest model. In both sizes, 5G connectivity is available for an additional
    $150 above the Wi-Fi-only price. This same pricing scheme runs true for
    Apple's mid-range, $599 iPad Air, which offers many of the same features of
    its final offering, the iPad Pro. Apple’s iPad Pro will run consumers and businesses $799 for a
    128GB, 11-inch model
    or $1099 for a 12.9-inch version.


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Ultimately, the decision on whether to go with iOS
or Android must be based on the individual needs of the business in question.
There is no hard and fast rule for which industries or which types of employees
would thrive better on either of these platforms. Generally speaking, those
customers that need the most freedom should choose Android, while customers
prioritizing out-of-the-box security above all other selling points would likely
be better suited to iOS. However, it is very unlikely the decision will be so
cut-and-dry for most business device shoppers. The best course of action may be
to query the employees that will ultimately become the end users of these
devices: Determine what their desires in a mobile devices are, discover what
security flaws can be mitigated through simple instruction, and adjust any
purchasing plans accordingly. Both Android and iOS can be tailored to suit a
wide variety of situations and needs, but the information in this report should
help a company’s decision maker decide which platform can do so most
efficiently and for the smallest associated cost. 

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About the Author

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Michael Gariffo is an editor for Faulkner Information
Services. He tracks and writes about enterprise software and the IT services
sector, as well as telecommunications and data networking.

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