Android from Google has to make some in roads into the Apple space to be taken as a serious competitor. Whilst the phone manufacturers have snapped up a free copy of Android to try and stave off Apples dominance of the Smart Phone and now Tablet markets, recent studies and our direct experience have shown that there is a way to go in any competitive burn off.

Additionally the Blackberry sales into Corporates remains strong, although they continue to lose both sales staff to Apple, and whole corporations. However on an individual level, senior figures in Financial Markets organisations are beginning to question and challenge the corporate take that they can’t use their Apple device at work.

There are several reasons for this:

– Android has a way to go technically to catch Apple’s IOS, especially since release 4. The IOS solution is consistent across all Apple devices and this means that use of the platform and development for it are far simpler on Apple, copy/paste works seamlessly across and within apps, multi-tasking works without the user needing to be aware, switching apps is fast and simple and folders are an effective solution to multiple groups of apps

– Blackberry are struggling to produce a tablet, due both to the complexity of this task, and the lack of available components due to Apple’s purchasing power for these core components.

– the often criticised approach to certify apps on Apple platforms means that Apple presents a consistent user experience across all applications. No relearning for users means rapid application take up. This is not the case to date on either the Blackberry or the Android devices.

– the bulk manufacturing approach for Android phones has meant significant hardware available to run the platform on. However the physical build of the iPhone 4 and the iTouch, mean that the dual camera, retina display and wifi / 3G performance offer significantly better overall experience for the user, for a not significant uplift in cost, especially when on a phone contract.

Market research recently has shown that whilst the Android devices out sold Apple in the US domestic market the driver behind this was not device driven, but carrier driven. Verizon’s customers would not move to AT&T for an iPhone. Research indicates that now Verizon has the phone that the iPhone will outstrip Android in US domestic sales adding another 9m customers to the iPhone platform.

Apple’s dominance of the Smart Phone market continues to grow, and it looks likely in the immediate future to dominate the space. The Android market is too fragmented, and anyone that has used both platforms, as the author has, will quickly realise that the Apple user experience and applications base is so much better that it is difficult to see Android making up ground quickly. The Blackberry market is further fragmented, and as there are generations of Blackberry devices already in corporates, it becomes difficult to select which batch to support. (The IE6 problem all over again).

In addition Apple created and own the current tablet market. There seems to be a reluctance corporately to accept this, due to the management overheads and the difficulty of “owning” such a flexible platform as a corporation, but the user community in the finance houses is so significant now on a personal basis that this is likely to drive the acceptance corporately.

Those of us old enough to remember the original corporate reluctance to accept Microsofts dominance in the Office applications suite, and the push in many corporates to retain Notes for email and Lotus 123 for spreadsheets will remember the pressure from the user community to adopt Outlook and Excel. The users won.

worldflow believe that this is likely to happen in many organisations with the corporate adoption of Apples Smart Phone (iPhone) and in particular the Tablet (iPad) will be driven by a vast user appetite to use these devices for real work, and not just as a toy for their children. We see this in organisations daily, where senior staff members want to access the corporate networks, email, documents, on their personal Smart Phone or Tablet, and these are always Apples devices.

For use in applications space corporately the iPad in particular has a growing following, and none more so than the Financial Markets space. Research, Sales, Cash Management, Client Portfolios and so on are becoming common applications on this platform. Far sighted Financial organisations are following this trend and rolling out Apple devices as standard to their internal users.

As the internal community grows corporately, and personally, and as the clients of Investment houses look to their suppliers to provide content through Apple devices, so the market trend will continue towards Apple’s dominance of the space.

worldflow will continue to support and develop financial applications for the Apple, Blackberry and Android platforms, but as we currently observe the Financial Markets use of both Smart Phones and Tablets, it looks like Apple will dominate in this space. Things change in technology, but this trend could take a number of years to reverse, if it will reverse.

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