Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

Summary: Android is cool but not cool enough to convince anyone to use it exclusively. You'll have to support Apple too.

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TOPICS: Apple, Android, Google
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If you know me or follow me, you know that I love Linux. I have workstations, servers, a laptop and a netbook all with Linux on them. However, it bothers me greatly when vendors hop onto a bandwagon, like the Linux one, and yet they don't really think about reality when they do it. I've lost count of the number of new companies have sprung up in the past six months touting support for BYOD, mobile device management and Enterprise gadget this or user device that. But, most of them only support Android. I appreciate entrepreneurship and innovation but come on...Android? Really?

And, you know how some people can leap off into 'religious' rants that only seem important to them? Well, I'm about to break into today's Irritable Bowel Syndrome* colon cramp tirade, so hold on. So, bail now or grab a cup of coffee and take a ride with me while I explain to you how wrong and dangerous it is to mess with an all-Android product focus.

And, yes, I've seen Apple and other mobile device vendors go back and forth on mobile device market share numbers; each one claiming a majority of the market. Let's just say that Android and Apple make up the bulk of the market but they're not alone. Look at the so-called 'smart' phone market players:

  • Apple
  • Android - Various vendors
  • Windows
  • Blackberry

Don't you think it wise to support the two primary market holders at the very least? The better question is, "How wise is it to only support one platform?"

It isn't wise at all. The reason is not that you should support any device that a user owns, although that's a pretty good reason. The reason is that most companies want to buy only one solution for their mobile device management. If your software only supports Android, you're severely limiting yourself to those companies that only allow Android phones, which,...let's count them up...OK, so, none.

For example, I own an iPhone 4. If that device isn't supported on my employer's network, then I will expect, and rightly so, that they'll supply me with a device. If they supply the device, that isn't BYOD now is it? And, therefore, they're not saving money nor are they allowing me to use my iPhone.

The solution is for them to not buy your single device-oriented software.

The reality is that Android has some of the market and Apple has some of the market. So do Windows phones and Blackberry. I currently have a corporate-owned Windows phone. Before that, I had a corporate-owned Blackberry. If your software doesn't support those, then too bad, so sad, you won't have any customers because no company of any size has only one type of device, corporate-owned or not.

The other more interesting part of this whole BYOD phenom is that your higher-end, executive types will own Apple products. They can afford them. They aren't geeks so they're going with what's trendy and cool, not what's geeky. You know, the folks at the high end of the pay scale buy the good stuff. Ironically, they want to hire people at the bottom of the range but want to purchase products at the other end of the spectrum: Apple, Mercedes, Starbucks, Klipsch. But, that's a whole other rant.

Selling a product that only supports one type of mobile device is like opening a sandwich shop and only offering a 'Ham and Cheese on Rye.' It's very limiting and not wise. In fact, it's really kind of dumb. And, you really shouldn't do it.

I know that it's easy to create software and services for Android. It's Linux. It's going to be easier. But, picking the low-hanging Android fruit won't get you where you want to be, which presumably is into company networks. You have to play nice with other types of mobile devices or you won't be playing at all. As I wrote earlier, companies only want to deal with one mobile device management (MDM) software, not four or even two. Either you support all types of devices or you might as well just program some Apps for an App Store. You'll find more success and more customers. After all, you're banking on market share, aren't you?

Think back to the early 1900s, when the automobile was a new thing. Henry Ford's company built cars. The joke was that, "You can have any color you want as long as you want black." Other car companies that entered the market taught Mr. Ford something very important about consumers: They want choices. What motivates you to buy a new car if the new one looks exactly like the old one? At least change the grille and tail lights on the new model.

Consider the following scenario:

SCENE: DAY - INTERIOR TRADE SHOW FLOOR

CIO: Hi, I'm looking for MDM software for my company.

VENDOR: Great, how many devices do you expect to manage?

CIO: About 2,000.

VENDOR: Great, we have a scalable, available, affordable...blah blah blah solution.

CIO: Awesome, let me have a look.

VENDOR: Let me see your Android phone and I'll give you a live demo.

CIO: I have an iPhone 4, not Android.

VENDOR: Oh, what types of devices comprise that 2,000 number that you gave me?

CIO: All types but maybe only 350 Android ones.

VENDOR: Well, we can certainly manage those 350 for you with our SMB version of our software.

CIO: We want a single MDM for all of our devices. Yours only supports Android?

VENDOR: Yes, Android only. Can I show you the benefits of using Android? It's much more...

CIO: Nah, thanks. I need something that will accommodate all device types.

VENDOR: Do you want to enter our drawing for a free Android phone?

Very sad. Very bad.

The solution is to also provide support for Apple devices--at the very least. And, yes, I've heard the rhetoric about Apple's inability to use mobile hypervisors. I say, "Talk to the hand." Don't give me excuses; give me results. If Apple devices won't use mobile hypervisors, then figure out another way to create multiple profiles. If nothing else, you could use an App that uses a VPN connection and only branded VPN-aware or VPN-authenticated Apps will work while connected. How about that?

Get busy you Android-only vendor types and get me some Apple support or give me nothing at all. * No, I don't have it, unless you count the personality equivalent of that defect.

See Also:

Judge rules that targeting Android for destruction is legally OK

Motorola opens up a bit on Android ICS plan for Xoom, Droid

Apple blows past Samsung to become top smartphone vendor for 4Q 2011

Apple's iPad 3 refresh likely to kick off sales boom

Topics: Apple, Android, Google

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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42 comments
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  • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

    Sounds weird but I feel the same way in the opposite way. I've been very dissapointed looking all those apps in AppStore that Developers just don't want to bother porting to Android. If they knew all the bucks they're losing for that closed mind. Ok, I'm offtopic because I'm not talking about enterprise apps but I consider this is another example in a basic level. Most of the succesful apps I know are developed at least for iOS,Android and Blackberry (forgot OS name sorry) and this is exactly the reason of their success. (Sorry for my bad english)
    Y2j-Hotaru
    • The reason why they most developers are iPhone only is ...

      @Y2j-Hotaru ... becauese Android is not a money making platform for developers. Most end up bastardizing the product by being forced to bundle adware just to recoup the investment.

      To make matter worst, the Android market place is a zest pool of stolen pirated software re-branded and bundled with spyware viruses. So just by using Google's Marketplace the developer is risking that their product become the target of hackers .... destroying the brand in the process.
      wackoae
      • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

        @wackoae
        True. As soon as anyone releases anything nice, some other "vendor" rips it off with a copycat that is either a direct copy, or crappy buggy junk.

        That makes it almost impossible for someone to see an app they are excited about or interested in, go to the Amdroid marketplace, and try to find it..only to get back search results for dozens of things that look mostly the same, so it's a crap shoot if you'd even get what you wanted anyway or just end up paying for or installing absolute BS.
        lelandhendrix@...
      • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

        @wackoae

        Both platforms stink! Windows baby....Windows!
        Rob.sharp
      • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

        @wackoae: No, it isn't. It ain't worse than App Store where there's been plenty of duplicates. It's just some week ago or something that Apple started to get rid of a bunch of obvious pixel-by-pixel clones. And you remember Moxie Marlinspike's app, right?

        And I have yet to see somebody getting their name ruined because of somebody else's hacked copy. Most blame so far has been on Google (who is seriously improving their AV system now) or the malicious devs.
        Natanael_L
    • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

      @Y2j-Hotaru
      It's been proven, time and again over AT LEAST the past 2.5-3 years, that the vast majority of Android users WILL NOT purchase an app.
      I hate that you are in the minority, and are willing to pay for quality app experiences...but there are so few of you that it does not justify the manpower nor associated maintenance & processing costs to offer the few people like you those apps.

      I personally have NO IDEA why this is, but I've theorized that I may have something to do with all the people who got "free" android phones (and thats a very high number of what the mobile network carriers sell) and therefore if they aren't willing to pay for a phone, they certainly don't expect to pay for an app--even if it is a measly BUCK.

      To even use the iTunes App Store to load FREE apps on any iOS device requires that you have a working credit card associated with the account. That makes ease of purchase, when someone considers an impulse buy of a $2 app, MUCH MUCH easier and FAR more likely to actually make the transaction.

      So, in summary, until these fundament issues change--and until you must have a WORKING equivalent of an iTunes store account to even install a FREE app on Android--the developers will only continue to target Apple and iOS first...because they, like any other person who goes to work(!!), expects to be compensated for their efforts.
      lelandhendrix@...
      • The great majority of iOS developers will not breakeven

        @lelandhendrix@...
        but most probably think they will.

        The Apple app store is profitable for Apple for each and every app sold. However, even if the payout was evenly spread across ALL developers of paid apps, they would get no more than a small bonus, and none would be able to quit their day job.

        The problem is that the payout actually goes to a relatively few VERY popular apps. I would suggest that a developer is more likely to win more on the lottery than they would make off apps. They would have a lot more spare time without having to spend dozens or hundreds of hours and who knows what in money, on writing, testing and ongoing improvement.

        Who knows what they could have earnt had they used the time on something else?

        Writing for a 'better' app store means nothing if you have buckleys of making anything out of it.

        The ones that are making profitable apps (in all app stores) are those who provide apps (usually for free) that enhance already profitable lines of business, like banks and supermarkets. The apps (iOS and Android) that Woolworths in Australia have put out would have cost them a $million or more with all the back end inventory system changes that would have been required, let alone the ongoing effort on the apps themselves. The apps work very well and makes shopping in their stores much quicker and easier than in their competition.

        Basically the apps stores have wiped out the profitability of app development, because people are expecting high quality apps for a $1 or nothing, when they would have been much more even just a few years ago. People are expecting free versions with substantial functionality, and developers are continuing to oblige.
        Patanjali
      • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

        @lelandhendrix@... I have 85 apps on my iPhone 4S. I have actually purchased 3 or 4 of them that I use a lot because I HATE ads. That kind of support that caused me to choose the iPhone 4S over the Galaxy S II was the OS support. My wife has had her 3GS less than a year, and already has at least 5 significant OS upgrades, each with new features. Anyone who buys an Android phone without the latest OS is unlikely to EVER see an update. By the time Google comes out with one, and the carrier, and manufacturer get done raping it, and pass it to the user, likely the 2 year contract will be up. That, and the convenience of both us having the same type phone was the deciding factor. Apps are easy, but OS support isn't.
        rphunter42
      • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

        @lelandhendrix@...
        "To even use the iTunes App Store to load FREE apps on any iOS device requires that you have a working credit card associated with the account."

        This is false. It is simple to set up an account without a credit card. I have two set up in other countries' App Stores which have apps unavailable where I live.
        jorjitop
  • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

    @Ken, have you ever had to support an exec who's calendar got messed up because of his settings in iTunes on his home machine that he syncs to? You know, the machine that is out of the IT dept's hands.

    And maybe you should direct your rant to the perfect company in Cupertino if you don't like how iDevices don't support hypervisors or sandboxing of corporate data. If Cupertino doesn't will it, you aren't getting it. You full knew this going into the platform. Its about as closed to OS modifications as it gets. Go throw your fit there and see how far you get.
    MicroNix
    • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

      @MicroNix So True. Ken needs to be complaining to Apple and have them step up their support for developers if they want developers to support their platform in-kind. But Apple won't do it. They've demonstrated as much by banning certain apps that attempt to more deeply integrate with the iOS from their store. It's indicative of their top down philosophy. Apple tells you whats good, not the other way around. Developers don't appreciate being hamstrung that way.

      Apple is notorious for having horrible admin tools on their "enterprise" level software. So much so that they've abandoned it. The MacOS in particular has never scaled well in a network environment. Which is completely opposite of the LINUX tradition.

      Apple has made their bed and now Ken shouldn't complain about having to lay in it.
      mrxxxman
      • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

        @mrxxxman I have to agree. I knew just where I was going, and what I was doing when I bought the iPhone. Sometimes it is annoying how tightly Apple holds the reins, but at other times, it is rather reassuring.
        rphunter42
    • I Was Thinking Along the Same Lines

      @MicroNix
      I was thinking along the same lines when I read this article. Apple won't support any devices but their own. How can you support Apple's devices with software you write when they don't want you to?
      CFWhitman
  • No sympathy here - you need to look around a bit more...

    Now, how about all those iOS apps that only exist for iOS?<br><br>Or accessories that use WiFi or Bluetooth to connect but ONLY to iOS devices?<br><br>Or the endless iDocks, iCars, iLifestyledevices (I'm look at you WiThings), iRemotes (Hello Redeye) and so on.<br><br>I can forgive covers and some cases since they have to be form fitted - but really - no one's thought of having their own generic connection on their device and selling iDevice and other adapters?<br><br>And with WiFi and Bluetooth based devices, it's just a matter of porting over the software - or making the protocol available for someone else to write the app.<br><br>And while we're on the general subject - how about retail chains that list "iPad and Tablets", "iPhone and Phones" and "iPod and MP3 Players"? What? And iPad isn't a Tablet? Mind you when you go into the Tablet section - you STILL see the iPads. Same with the others.

    Or cellcos who have iPad specific plans (or pretend to but actually offer the same plan as the "Tablet" plans but call it out so iPad users can find it more easily).<br><br>No... the scenario you're depicting happens on all platforms - but the iDevices get so much love from the press, developers and retail that it's kind of drifting into temper tantrum behaviour when an iDevice owner complains that someone doesn't support iDevices (and kind of surprising that that's the case, TBH).
    TheWerewolf
    • Sony in Australia recently advertised some tracks but only mentioned iTunes

      @TheWerewolf
      Which is surprising as there are just as many (in Australia at least) Android devices and countless MP3 players (even their own Walkmans!).
      Patanjali
    • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

      @TheWerewolf Hummm. My in car Bluetooth works, and I have seen Logitech Bluetooth keyboards for the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch. In addition, there are things that plug into the bottom of the phone. Yes, they have to mimic Apple products, but it can be done.
      rphunter42
    • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

      @TheWerewolf Totally agree.It's amazing how IUsers complain about "only Android support",when there are so many programs,apps and companies that only work for IOS,that is a closed platform.
      anto31
      • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

        @anto31 I seem to have missed those complaints, must not be very common.
        non-biased
    • RE: Android Shmandroid. Give me Apple support or give me nothing.

      @TheWerewolf May I ask what this has to do with the topic? Accessory vendors have determined they can make money offering these items only for iOS devices so that is their choice. Granted I didn't read the entire article so might have missed where this apples but he was talking about support vendors no locking themselves down to one OS right?
      non-biased
  • How many DLP products run on iPhone/iPad?

    Blackberry means business.
    sagec