Corporations go gaga over Android

Business adoption of smartphones running Google's mobile OS rises 60% since May, says market researcher

Corporations are jumping on the Google smartphone bandwagon, with Android device growth outpacing Apple's iPhone 20-fold in the last three months, a market researcher said today.

An August survey of over 1,600 corporate IT buyers conducted by ChangeWave Research found that 16% of those polled said their firms were using Android-based smartphones. That's a six-point jump since May, representing a 60% increase in three months.

During the same period, the number of IT purchasers who said that their companies used Apple's iPhone climbed one point to 31%, an increase of just over 3%.

Research in Motion continues to be the most popular smartphone manufacturer in corporate circles, said Paul Carton, who heads the research side at ChangeWave. BlackBerry devices are present in 66% of the surveyed companies. That's a drop of three points and a slide of 4% since May.

Carton called Android the "clear momentum winner" among mobile operating systems in the workplace, but said that iOS, which powers Apple's iPhone, "remains strong."

ChangeWave's totals exceeded 100% because some firms support multiple mobile operating systems.

Other analysts and experts have also tagged Android as a fast-charging competitor to the iPhone and BlackBerry.

Earlier this month, Gartner said Google's OS will blow by RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iOS during 2010, and will be in the No. 2 spot behind only Nokia's Symbian operating system.

Gartner predicted that Android will be in a photo-finish race with Symbian by 2014.

Rival research firm IDC has also said that Android smartphone sales are booming, and pegged its global share at 16% by the end of this year, with Symbian at 40%, BlackBerry with 18% and iOS at 15%.

ChangeWave's data is different than Gartner's and IDC's because its surveys are U.S.-only.

Both HTC and Motorola are reaping the benefits of the surge in corporate smartphone adoption, said Carton in an e-mail. "HTC has soared 6 points in terms of corporate buying plans to a new all-time high..., triple its share of nine months ago," he said, referring to the results of queries asking which manufacturer -- HTC or Motorola -- would be selected for business purchase in the next three months.

HTC makes and sells a plethora of Android-based phones, including the Droid Incredible and EVO 4G.

Fifteen percent of corporate buyers said that they would purchase a Motorola smartphone in the next 90 days, a jump of three points since May. Motorola released the Droid X in July and the Droid 2 in August.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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