The build up was prolonged, the launch ground-breaking; but will the Samsung Galaxy S4 be enough to increase Android’s share of the business market?
The handset is being released in the UK in spring, just as all major mobile operators switch to 4G. This gives Samsung a major tick in many people’s eyes - especially as the iPhone 5 is only available with 4G on the EE network - and will certainly be on the wish list of many a smartphone-shopper and business owner in April. So, for anyone looking for the fastest and most efficient smartphone experience, the Android run S4 will certainly be their first port of call.
But some people aren’t so sure the S4 will improve Android’s standing.
One person who certainly doesn’t think so is Apple’s marketing chief and No. 2, Phil Schiller. In three interviews he gave to the US media over the past few days – aptly timed after the launch of the S4 on Thursday last week – he put down Android smartphones, labelling them ‘giveaway’ upgrade phones: “Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn't as good as an iPhone,” he said. Ooooh. Well he would think that, right? But he also went on to expose another – perhaps more noteworthy - flaw in the Google owned OS, mentioning the ‘fragmentation’ of their software. Google allows mobile operators and manufacturers to decide when to update the Android operating system, which means that a relatively small amount of Android users are on the latest version of the software:
“With their own data, only 16% of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system,” charged Schiller. “Over 50% are still on software that is two years old. We are hearing this week that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is being rumoured to ship with an OS that is nearly a year old.”
According to industry analysts IDC, businesses will buy 15.1 million Android handsets, as opposed to the 31.1 million iPhones from Apple, estimating that it will remain the number one corporate smartphone supplier until at least 2016. And this is down to Android’s inherent fragmentation and the unison of Apple’s OS: IT departments are always going to be more attracted to a unified version of software as opposed to managing multiple versions, right?
He thinks so..!
While this may be a fair cop, Schiller’s timing is telling of a growing intensification in competition between Android and Apple; the launch of the S4 has forced Apple into outspoken criticism of their biggest rivals.
Google’s head of Android engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer has defended the Android update system: “We recently announced there’s something like 500 million Android devices. When you think about half a billion devices and updating them all at the same time you can’t even contemplate that, it’s a big, big task.”
A good excuse, but it might not get him far with business owners looking for efficiency and easy management. I guess all we can do is watch the Android vs Apple dogfight unfold!
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