Is your business planning on investing in new smartphones or tablets? Choosing the right technology can help your team get things done from anywhere, making work faster and easier. Here are 10 reasons and productivity-boosting features that we feel makes Android better for your business.
Android is responsible for an explosion in affordable smart devices. As manufacturers continue to push the envelope at the premium end of the market, the trickle-down effect of technology has resulted in good quality and inexpensive smart phones for every budget. In 2014 the average selling price of an Android smartphone is forecast to be less than half the average selling price of an iOS device (Source: IDC)
With market share of 84.7% for smartphones (Source: IDC), and 67.7% for tablets (Source: IDC), Android is the most dominant mobile operating system and it's likely that a good number of your employees are already using an Android device. Digital is becoming a key component of day to day business life. Social networking, websites, intranets and other tools are the life blood of many organisations. Also, a new generation of digitally proficient workers are entering the workplace who will expect the same high quality of digital tools they already use in their personal life. By empowering your employees with the right tools for the job, and tools that they already understand, they will be more productive.
Android devices come in all shapes and sizes, with varying battery life, durability, aesthetics, reliability, performance, storage capacity and other specialist features. Some of your team may need the biggest, sharpest display and fastest processor available, but there may be others where a balance can be struck between device cost and features. The wide variety of Android devices on offer can allow you to target the right device to the right person and you can find an Android device for every job role. From rugged and waterproof tough phones suitable for use in any outdoor and demanding environment, to innovative tablets for sales teams with micro HDMI ports that can be plugged straight into a TV, there is a smart phone, phablet or tablet fit for every job.
Even as recent as 12 months ago, if you were going to deploy a fleet tracking or logistics solution you would be looking at industrial mobile solutions which, at the time, was pretty much the exclusive domain of Windows Mobile (CE) ruggedised devices. Times are changing and mainstream manufacturers like Motorola, Intermec, Panasonic and Zebra Technologies have released Android versions of their industrial devices. These products can integrate laser barcode scanners, NFC, have great battery life, docking chargers and hot swappable batteries.
Arguably one of Androids most powerful features is that your phone or tablet's interface can be completely customised. For business, simple first customisation steps could include replacing the wallpaper with your company logo, putting a standard set of company apps on the homescreen, and banishing unwanted or little used apps to a folder in their app drawer.
Taken one step further, it's possible for your employees to completely change the way they access their work information using different 'launchers'. Whilst some users may like a sparse and simple home screen experience, other information junkies may like to have at-a-glance access to as much information as possible. Either way, this helps your employees work in a way that makes them most productive.
For certain applications, some businesses may require devices to be locked down into a 'kiosk' mode to restrict user access to only desired applications and prevent unintentional changes to device settings. This specialist software allows an admin to access the device via password protected settings to either modify or exit the lockdown configuration.
Most Android handsets offer expandable storage using inexpensive microSD cards allowing you to carry more data or install more apps without upgrading the entire handset. We find this particularly useful for users who need to load significant quantities of reference data on the device, or who frequently take photos and video on the go.
USB connectivity and charging
Most Android devices can be charged using a standard and inexpensive micro USB cable. If you have a large number of employees out and about, using a variety of different devices, being able to purchase low cost and standard chargers, cables and car adapters can represent a massive saving not only financially, but also in lost time and productivity when searching for that specific compatible cable.
At the bottom of any Android device there are a trio of soft key navigation controls – back, home and multitasking. These keys, and particularly the back key, are one of Androids biggest differentiators from other operating systems providing a consistent navigation approach across the entire system. Whilst this may seem a minor detail, they are a very powerful feature of the intuitive Android experience.
Moreover some Android devices, particularly the ruggedised and industrial versions, have additional hard keys that can be configured for variety of purposes such as short cuts to apps or lone worker panic alarms. Good examples of this type of products are the Panasonic FZ-X1 or Toughshield R500+.
With Android L, Google means business
Android Lollipop (L) offers some valuable updates for business users. The ability to runs multiple users on one device, and the potential for an employee to sign into any Lollipop device to access their contacts, calls and messages, could be extremely useful for employees in the field. Enhanced security features let staff to keep their personal and work lives securely separated on one device, and their data is automatically encrypted by default for out of the box new devices. Tap & Go automatic restore with NFC allows you to tap a new device to an old device and transfer over all content, handing your account details from one device to another. This has huge potential for deploying business accounts and account set up quickly and consistently across an organisation.
If you need some help finding the right mobile devices to improve your teams mobility and productivity for your unique business needs, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01202 665885 and we'll be happy to support you with solid expert advice
Banner Image by Kham Tran via Flickr Creative Commons