Choosing the best mobile operating system for your business

With so many different devices now available on the market, it can be confusing to choose which will work most effectively for your business.

Specifications of handsets and tablets can often be similar, offering similar screen sizes, resolutions, processors, cameras and memory size. Therefore, the starkest comparisons can usually be drawn when you consider the operating system that each device runs on.

So which is the best mobile operating system? We have compared the top four operating systems, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10 to help you decide which is best for your business.

Security

Security has to be a key consideration for any enterprise, as mobile devices inevitably are susceptible to security threats.

Windows 8 includes various security features such as Windows Defender, protecting the user against malware, malicious apps and preventing data leaks. It also has automatic updates which close off any identified vulnerabilities instantly, without any user interaction. iOS does also offer frequent updates, but users have to actively install these. Notably, Windows Phone 8 has recently been security approved by the US government, which cements its status as a truly secure OS.

Whilst Apple devices have previously not been recommended for secure business use, due to security concerns, the latest iOS has a number of improved security features. These include Touch ID, improved Find My iPhone with remote lock available, and improved compliance with mobile device management solutions, including blocking the deletion of enterprise-approved applications.

Android has multiple security layers to block malware, and is generally a very secure OS. However, due to ‘Open Standards’ it does rely on the user making the correct decisions when changing settings to avoid compromising this inherent level of security, unlike some of the other operating systems. Nonetheless, because of this it does tend to work most effectively with mobile device management solutions, enabling complete remote control and over the air policy deployment with little to no restrictions, which does significantly increase the security credentials.

BlackBerry has long been considered as the king of mobile security, being the first to offer a number of encryption features. BlackBerry 10 enables you to remote wipe as well as backup and transfer data from devices over the cloud, using your secure BlackBerry ID. BlackBerry Safeguard ensures all app information is kept secure, and the innovative BlackBerry Balance enables work and personal information to be kept separate and secure.

All the four major devices are extremely secure from the outset, but it is essential to also implement some level of mobile device management in order to be confident that mobile devices will not harm the security of your business.

Interface

BlackBerry 10 allows for a complete separation of business and personal accounts with BlackBerry Balance, and you are able to create subfolders for easy management of applications. The BlackBerry Hub helpfully combines the emails, messages and social networks of your choosing into one central area, which you are able to ‘Peek’ at without disturbing your current application. Once you have mastered the various gestures, you can quickly and easily move between the features of your phone.

Windows Phone 8 has colourful, easily customised Live Tiles which can be easily customised to show the information that is important to you. All Windows Phone 8 devices have full Microsoft Office support and enable quick and easy syncing between all the documents on your mobile, desktop and laptop. With Windows Phone you also have the choice between a range of handset manufacturers, including Nokia, HTC, Huawei and Samsung.

The Android OS is arguably the most customisable out of the four operating systems, and also gives the largest selection of high and low end devices, including HTC, Samsung, Nexus, Motorola, Sony, Asus and LG. You are able to place Widgets anywhere onto your home screen, and resize them according to your requirements.

The newly-designed iOS interface is made up of layers, with improved multitasking and an all-new Control Centre which enables you to quickly switch on or off Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, along with other useful shortcuts. Whilst it arguably offers less customisation options than some of the other operating systems, it is a simple and straightforward system to navigate, which is important in any business handset.

When considering operating system features it is important to understand what is most important to your business; how the interface looks, features that are frequently used (such as Microsoft Office Syncing) and how easy it is to navigate.

Applications

Undoubtedly, iOS does have the largest selection of applications on the current market, with current figures at somewhere around 900,000. Android is not far behind, and as an ‘Open Standards’ platform, it does lend itself well to application development. Most new applications tend to be delivered first onto Android and iOS, although often are earmarked for further development onto the other major platforms.

However, one could easily argue that a significant proportion of the apps found in the larger app stores may be redundant for business use. We would recommend that you research the apps which you would consider essential for your business and their availability on each of the platforms to help with your decision.

Conclusion

It is clear that there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a mobile operating system, and it is unlikely that two businesses will have exactly the same needs. What is important is that you compare the aspects of the operating systems highlighted here as well as the devices. Why not visit our Experience Centre where you can find out more about each operating system and available devices, or contact our team for help and advice?