Corporate adoption of the iPad is booming and it is being driven from within the business, rather than by individuals bringin in heir own machine and demanding IT support for it.
That is the finding of a new survey from Good Technology, which shows that 28 per cent of the new device activations by its mobile management customers - mainly North American large businesses, with thousands of devices managed - were for iPads in December 2010.
The rest were of iPhones and Android devices, at 46 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively. Good is also now seeing Android tablets in its data, with the most popular of those - the Samsung Galaxy Tab - cracking the top 20 device list for the first time.
Good's data does not include BlackBerry activations because such devices can be activated only through Research in Motion's proprietary BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). It also does not include Windows Phone 7 devices, as they are not supported by Good's mobile management tool due to API limitations in the Microsoft OS, the company said.
Surveys by ChangeWave Research show that BlackBerrys currently account for about 60 percent of corporate smartphones and have been steadily declining in share throughout 2010 as iOS and Android devices gain in adoption. An analysis of mobile Web usage by mobile ad network Chitika shows total Windows Phone 7 market share at about 0.3 per cent.
Good's survey showed that the adoption of iPads in the workplace is increasingly driven by the businesses themselves where the iPads is seen as bringing ROI for new and existing business workflows, such as field-force use and lightweight laptop replacement.
Conversely, enterprises are relegating smartphone choices - and purchases - to individuals, as businesses seek to stop the growth of corporate-owned smartphones. Instead, many businesses have realized they can safely manage employee-owned devices while employees pay the price difference and get what appeals to them personally, such as an iPhone with more storage, said John Herrema, executive VP for strategy at Good.
The iPad's adoption follows "heightened interest and usage in the areas of intranet access generally, and document access and management specifically," Herrema said. "We attribute this to the iPad's increased screen size, which provide a much better user experience for the consumption of intranet content and for viewing and editing documents. The much longer battery life versus typical laptops is also a factor, such as when flying."
Within Good's customer base, the financial services industry was the strongest adopter of the iPad. In September, that industry accounted for 28 percent of new iPad activations among Good's customers, but jumped to 40 percent in December.
The legal industry's iPad activation share grew from 9 percent to 15 percent in the same four-month period. Conversely, the health care industry's iPad activation share among Good customers dropped from 40 percent in September to 18 percent in December. Herrema attributed health care's early surge to pent-up interest in bedside care and theorised the subsequent drop simply reflected the fact that the industry simply moved faster than others.
These shares do not reflect overall iPad adoption trends; companies that use mobile management tools such as Good's typically need greater levels of compliance and security than what Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes provide out of the box, thus skewing the customer base to financial, health care, and legal industries.
But the data show that among those security-conscious industries, health care made a big push into iPads in September, whereas the financial and legal industries made significant moves in December.
Other platforms supported by Good's mobile management, such as Microsoft Windows Mobile, Nokia Symbian, and Hewlett-Packard WebOS, didn't register in its December tally of customers' net new activations (those not replacing a same-OS device).
Herrema said they accounted for less than 1 percent of new activations. Statistically speaking, only iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices were added to customers' mobile portfolios in December. For the final four months of 2010 as a whole, Windows Mobile saw about 4 percent new activations, with iOS averaging about 65 percent, Android 33 percent, and Symbian 1 percent.
For all of 2010, Android activations stayed steady at around 30 percent, while iOS activations grew at the expense of Windows Mobile and Symbian. Good expects iOS's share to increase further when the iPhone becomes available on the Verizon Wireless network, which will occur on February 10. For 2010, the iPhone was available on just the AT&T network in the United States, while Android devices were available for all four major Stateside cellular networks. Herrema also expects Android activations to grow in 2011, especially when the Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablets ship this spring or summer.
For Android smartphones, Motorola's Droid series led at about 12 percent of total new activations for the final four months of 2010, followed by HTC models at about eight per cent and Samsung models at about 2 percent. For new activations of iOS devices in that period, the iPhone 4 led at 36 percent, followed by the iPad at 22 percent, the iPhone 3G S at 10 percent, and the iPhone 3G at 4 percent.
Herrema cautioned that "in the final quarter of 2010, we saw continued decline of the Windows Mobile platform. However, we do not expect the platform to disappear anytime soon, because many organisations in the government and public sector remain heavy users of Windows Mobile." These sectors are not increasing their use of Window Mobile.