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September 16, 2010

The Android Tablet Snowball Effect

Avaya's Flare tablet-plus-user interface announcement should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who thought Google's Android (News - Alert) was no more than a passing fad. With Cisco and Avaya both rolling out Android-based tablets, Google gets another foothold into the enterprise that should make both Apple and Microsoft (News - Alert) worry, abet for different reasons.

Apple's never been a big enterprise shop, figuring (correctly) that its iOS-family of products -- specifically the iPhone (News - Alert) and iPad -- are good enough to get bootstrapped into a business on their own merits without a lot of effort. The tech guys or the C-level executives get hooked on product good looks and a cool UI and before you know it, IT is either voluntarily or reluctantly supporting iOS because someone wants to use an iPhone with the corporate network assets.

It's a good strategy to a point, but Apple (News - Alert) has never successfully invested into capturing a large chunk of the business space, leaving an opening for Google with Android. 

Enter Android, an open software platform with support from multiple hardware manufacturers who are willing to customize applications to meet the needs of the enterprise. Now the IT department has two support choices for smart phones and tablets. Since Apple has very little installed base on the network and IT side relative to people like Cisco and Avaya, Android enables an extended engagement in the tablet/UC/mobile productivity space when it plays with established systems.   Apple becomes further limited at how deeply it can expand into the enterprise space because vendors can play defense -- and offence -- with Android phone and tablet solutions.

That screaming you hear? Microsoft's steadily loosening grip in enterprise mobile devices.   Everyone is talking about Android tablets and Microsoft's best buddy in that regard -- HP -- has kicked Windows 7 tablets to the corner as it focuses on its Palm OS acquisition. What's also hurting Microsoft is that it is one OS for personal computing (Windows 7) that requires a lot of hardware resources, including battery power, and a separate one (Windows Mobile 7) for phones that continues to get snubbed. 

Compare Microsoft's dilemma to iOS and Android: Apple and Google have a single operating system extending from phones to tablets. Throw in Microsoft Office Communications Server and the picture gets even more muddled; IT guys are going to want to Android/Apple (can we call them A2?) devices talk to OCS, so either Microsoft does it organically to try to control that interaction and/or third-parties come in to rake in the bucks.

And of the two, you're likely to see Google have no problems encouraging third-parties to talk to OCS. With Apple, you might be lucky to get a phone call back.

To find out more about Avaya, visit the company at ITEXPO West 2010. To be held Oct. 4 to 6 in Los Angeles, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Executives from Avaya will be speaking during a number of sessions at the event. Don’t wait. Register now.

Doug Mohney is a contributing editor for TMCnet and a 20-year veteran of the ICT space. To read more of his articles, please visit columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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