CIOs may want to check mobile list twice

Visions of carrier changes, device upgrades, shiny new MDM solutions dance in their heads

As 2013 nears a close, planning for the next calendar year is in full swing at many IT shops. Mobile wish lists are no doubt on the radar of chief information officers--whether they're visions of carrier changes, device upgrades or shiny new mobile device management solutions.

For those shopping around for new mobile devices or considering which ones they'll support in a BYOD effort, Ars Technica has unveiled its annual smartphone guide. It's a two-part report focused on operating systems and hardware.

"Apple and Samsung are still standing at the top of the field," writes Andrew Cunningham. And while there are interesting things happening at the margins, there's no strong third place contender in terms of sales or reach.

With BlackBerry "circling the drain," the report suggests iOS and Android are still the top choices. In fact, Ars Technica only look at iOS, Android and Windows Phone, ignoring BlackBerry entirely.

According to the report, iOS excels in the areas of consistent customer experience, well-executed updates and a robust third-party app library.

"If iOS' strength is its consistency, Android's strength is its flexibility," notes Ars Technica.

That being said, carrier additions like piled-on app bundles can frustrate users. However, Google's "ace in the hole" is user data.

"By accessing both your own data and the reams of searchable data that Google has about every topic under the sun, Android phones come really close to being the seamless personal assistants that smartphones have always aspired to be," says the report.

Windows Phone 8 hasn't changed much in the past year and continues to be a unique option for users. One interesting nugget to come out of Redmond, however, is the news that Windows Phone 8 handsets will have an upgrade path going forward. That means CIOs can hedge their bets somewhat knowing that they could buy phones now "and also get the new software when it comes out," says Ars Technica.

Meanwhile, if your company does decide to tap Android and employees are more familiar with that other popular consumer device, tech support is being offered from a very high place. None other than Google's Eric Schmidt drafted a handy guide to converting from iOS to Android.

"Like the people who moved from PCs to Macs and never switched back, you will switch from iPhone to Android and never switch back," promises Schmidt in the Nov. 24 post. "Everything will be in the cloud, backed up and there are so many choices for you."

The guide explains how to sync i-devices in order to retain the most information as possible--music, apps, gmail and contacts--when transferring to an Android device from iOS.

The step-by-step directions aren't exactly simple. As one commenter on the post, with +134, says, "I'm afraid that's just way too many steps for an iPhone user to take."

For more:
- read the Ars Technica article
- read Schmidt's blog post

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