We’re constantly testing Android versions on our Raptor devices. Only yesterday we had a version of 5.1.1 on one of our test Raptor R5’s as an experiment but we’re improving and tweaking our custom OS’s all the time regardless of the main version it runs. Why do we do this? well one of the most popular conversations I tend to have with potential business customers is around the version of Android they should be using on their business devices.
Android has become quite fragmented and despite being an open source OS of one flavour, the same has happened with Android as it did with Windows mobile where there are now all kinds of operating system versions out there, all with their own tweaks, reductions and improvements.
If we look at the consumer market for just one minute and look at a Samsung Galaxy S7 against an HTC or huwawei or LG phone side by side. Each run the same version of Android but you’d be forgiven for saying that they looked and felt completely different. They are because the manufacturers have been buys trying to tweak, change and include all kinds of things to make their hardware more attractive to customers. Consumers love tweaks and gimmicks and i’m all up for Samsung’s “touch Wiz” interface and their bundled apps might be useful to have pre-installed but for a business a mobile device is largely doing a few important tasks day to day. So what things should you look for in an OS that mean it’s really well suited to you?
Here’s the things that you should look for in an OS that make it suitable for business
The graph below shows the current live android versions in use as we speak and you might be surprised to find that the latest versions of Android take up a very small percentage with the last versions of 4, AKA KitKat still dominating the market share. You’ll also see that on the right diagram that the screen sizes and resolutions in use aren’t all quad HD or 4K either. There’s a reason for this. Firstly people and businesses are keeping their phones longer as new features get rarer on new versions of Android.
Secondly the latest versions of anything are never as stable and secure as a few versions back. This is especially important for businesses who need reliability over features and is one of the biggest reasons our main Raptor smartphones run either v 4.4.2 or 5.0.
However there’s more to life than the versions. Within each version there are builds which show how active the OS owner is at updating and fixing any issues. Look for this on your device as it shows how well supported it is. Many cheaper brands will stick a stock OS onto their devices and simply leave it, leaving it open to bugs and security flaws that never get fixed.
Vanilla versus mocha coffee latter with nuts and caramel!
Sorry about that title! but in the business world having a nice fully featured device is simply not what you want. One of the key benefits of using Android on business devices is that it’s immediately familiar to users so why tweak it until it’s not? The more pure the Android experience will mean the OS is not only familiar with less training or problems but also it’ll be nice and lean, ready to have what you need installed onto it.
A reliable OS is one that hasn’t filled up it’s on board storage with apps and has tried to pre-install services like Facebook, Twitter or the latest Baidu browser, sending all your info to China!!
OK so any OS is pretty bare without apps but look for pre-installed apps that are useful. Google Chrome for example is a useful maybe, as is perhaps Microsoft’s suite of office apps. However the latest fremium give aways from newspaper or magazine apps or Samsung’s own file browser may not be and is making your device full and slow from the outset.
The Google play store or GMS as it is officially known is always present on consumer devices and is the gateway to true productivity as it opens up the google play app store to you. However it also does a lot more than that including sending all kinds of usage and location data back to Google among other things. You can actually remove this fro the OS which makes the device way more secure and private and perfect for business use! Ask if this can be removed or added because if it can it means the manufacturer has full control over it’s OS.
is the device branded to the manufacturer you bought it from? If not it’s probably a cheap off the shelf OS with problems ready to hut when least expected. Look for branded splash screens, built in wallpapers etc that indicate that the OS has been carefully designed, developed and looked after.
Can the manufacturer tweak the OS just for you? I can’t tell you how useful it is to have your own apps baked into the OS so they can never ever be removed or to have a branded default lock screen wallpaper, even with a cold, hard reset, MDM apps eat your heart out!!
So hopefully the above advice gives you an insight into how to pick a device with the best OS for you. If you need any more help then just get in touch as always!