Adoption of Android tablets and smartphones in large businesses has been “severely limited” because of the complexities of
managing the various Android models and versions, market research firm Gartner said in an evaluation of 20 mobile device management
(MDM) software vendors released Friday.
A survey that Gartner conducted in April showed 58% of enterprises have or will make iOS, used in iPhones and iPads, their
primary mobile platform in the next year, compared with 20% for BlackBerry and 9% for Android.
Google offers “weaker management support” for Android than Apple for iOS or Research in Motion for BlackBerry, Gartner added
in its new 34-page study.
The broad-ranging study said the explosion in consumer smartphones and tablets used in workplaces is making MDM the “fastest-growing
enterprise mobile software ever in terms of number of suppliers, revenue growth and interest from Gartner clients.”
MDM license revenues were about $200 million in 2010 and $350 million in 2011, and are expected to reach $500 million in 2012,
Gartner said. Research firm IDC recently said the revenues were higher in 2010, at $300 million, and expects the market will reach $1.2 billion in 2015. A principal problem with Android management capabilities, Gartner said, is that Google hasn’t opened many application programming interfaces (APIs) for the dozens of MDM vendors to connect their various management
tools to Android, Gartner said. In Android 4.0, Google only provided 16 APIs, compared to more than 500 APIs for the latest
version of BlackBerry.
Some MDM vendors have built their own APIs for Android devices, but the process “is time-consuming and expensive to do for
each device and version of Android,” Gartner said. “This [problem] has severely limited Android adoption in the enterprise,
and even today, very few enterprises provide [Android] support.”
Google didn’t respond to a request to comment. However, Android vendors such as Motorola Mobility — which Google is acquiring
— have defended the security and management available in Android for enterprise uses, mainly through software from 3LM, a software vendor that Motorola acquired in 2011.
Christy Wyatt, general manager of Motorola Mobility’s enterprise business unit, commented in January: “We have to get Android
as a whole at a stable and secure place, and once Android is behind the firewall [with 3LM], that helps. There’s a lot of mythology around Android and whether it’s secure or not.” Other Android device makers, such as HTC and Sony, have struck agreements to license 3LM
software, she said at the time.
Gartner’s report noted that Google hasn’t disclosed what it plans to do with 3LM as part of Motorola, adding that enterprises
Gartner works with are hoping Google will use 3LM as part of an enterprise version of Android for device makers.
Earlier in May, 3LM announced version 3.0 of its Mobile Device and Application Management platform to handle smartphones and tablets running Android 4.0, as well as manage iPhones and iPads. Other new features including an easier interface for IT managers and tools to prevent users from copying data from corporate
apps to non-corporate apps.