Because my firm implements customer relationship management applications, our clients are mostly business owners and salespeople who are on the road and work long hours. Many of them rely on their smartphones (as well, I assume, booze and Ambien) to get through the day – and night. So inevitably I get asked what smartphone I prefer and for as long as I can remember I always give the same answer: The Palm Treo.
But that’s not available anymore. So now I recommend any device that’s running Google’s Android operating system.
Now, don’t get mad at me, iPhone users. I agree that you are smarter, cooler and better looking than me (although, no offense, I do question the intelligence of anyone who sleeps outside of a shop just to buy a stupid phone). Yes, and of course, the iPhone is awesome, elegant and powerful. I have many clients who use and love their iPhones. My entire family – except me – are avid and happy iPhone users and we all peacefully co-exist unless someone switches on Fox News.
But this is a business decision. For my clients, who are mostly small and medium sized companies, an Android-based phone makes as much sense as work boots, safety glasses and Ford F-150’s. Let me explain why.
For starters, Android is part of a much, much bigger community. Go ahead and look it up. It’s OK…I’ll wait.
See? Even though it seems like everyone around you is using an iPhone, they’re not. Android actually controls more than 80 percent of the global smartphone and tablet market and Google is forecasted to grow this market share to 85 percent by 2020. Sure, these are users from India, China and other parts of Asia but can we all admit that these people are mostly smarter than us? They clearly know a good thing when they see it.
So what does this all mean? It means a bigger community of users that provides more options, support and competitive pricing for a business person looking for the right device. Not to mention a great reason to visit Mumbai.
Speaking of devices, Android is supported on way more of them than Apple’s iOS platform. The iPhone used to be the only cool thing in town. But Samsung, Amazon, Sony, HTC and many others make very cool devices that not only run on the operating system but also knows your favorite TV show, what restaurant you last ate at and what size underwear fits you. For a business this means that if you create your own internal apps or have found a great app for your company, your users will be able to run it regardless of their device and no matter how crappy it is. It all comes down to more flexibility and choices…and unfortunately more crappy apps.
Let’s not forget lower prices. Business owners like me are notorious cheapskates. iPhones can be expensive – and so can some Android-based devices. But that’s only if you go high end. The cheapest iPhone around is about $350. But you and your sales staff can be easily equipped with great Android phones or tablets costing well south of $300. Some Android phones I’ve seen sell for as little as $130. Just think of the savings that you can share with your staff in the form of higher wages and better benefits! Hello? Still with me?
Look, I’m not going to quibble about user interface and features – both operating systems have strengths and weaknesses and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from selling software and living on this planet for many decades is that everyone has their opinions, likes and favorite things, no matter how inferior they are. How else do you explain The Bachelor?
Leaving the features debate aside, I can confirm that Android does beat Apple in two big areas: battery life and storage. Because Android devices are more flexible, manufacturers are able to allow their users to more easily add on expanded batteries and flash drives to increase their file capacity. Of course, those added batteries could likely explode while in-flight, but those are the risks and we’re braver than we look, especially when it comes to getting an extra 30 minutes on Instagram.
Finally, I’m also a big fan of Google. In my experience as a CRM consultant, I find Google to be more business-friendly than Apple, and it’s not just because I loved that movie with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson where they went from dopey watch salesmen to winning an app contest against a bunch of brilliant Ivy-League students…and Owen Wilson also got the hot Google executive too.
Google apps, though available on the iPhone, are better integrated on Android devices. I rely heavily on Maps, Chrome, Gmail, Hangouts and other Google Business Apps for doing documents, spreadsheets and surfing porn. I find that Microsoft apps, which many of my clients use as I do, work better on Android devices than Apple ones and I was just kidding about surfing porn.
Of course, Android has its weaknesses and its biggest is still security. It’s a more open platform and Google’s oversight of malware and malicious apps – even on its store – is less stringent than Apple’s. That’s why Android devices are more vulnerable to attacks. Having said that, in the five-plus years I’ve been using my Samsung devices I’ve never really been harmed by an online attack mainly because I just pay the ransom fast.
So yes, I do recommend Android-based tablets and phones to our clients. But I don’t get into arguments about this stuff. The truth is that, although I prefer the Google platform over Apple’s, both are excellent and will work well for any business owner or salesperson. Think about it for a little, make your choice and move on. There are likely bigger issues that deserve more attention, like what in the world did that hot Google executive find attractive about Owen Wilson?