Android the number one choice, but can BlackBerry make a comeback?

Android the number one choice, but can BlackBerry make a comeback?

The rise of the mobile operating system (OS) in recent years has been nothing short of astonishing. The digital landscape has seen mobile devices become increasingly powerful, offering an internet experience that many would have previously written off as impossible only a few years ago.

As a result of the impressive levels of power now being wielded within the pockets of both consumers and workers alike, the mobile OS has come on leaps and bounds, with many platforms now boasting a level of sophistication that is comparable to the dominant PC desktops of old.

A recent report from ClickSoftware found that 59 per cent of its customers are now using smartphones, while another 14 per cent said they still used specialist equipment such as rugged PDAs.

The latter, combined with the use of tablet devices has seen a marked rise in the trend of mobile working, which has in turn increased productivity and morale among workforces across the country.

There is arguably no company that knows more about how much the digital landscape has changed than Microsoft. Having dominated the desktop market for a number of years, it has seen its strong position in the market come under attack from a number of rivals.

Android is now the big name at the top of the tree, with its OS platform an interface that has struck a chord with many users.

Changing of the guard

The report from ClickSoftware examined data from over 200 of its global enterprise customers over the course of an eight-year period.

Its main finding was that 67 per cent of customers are now opting to use an Android-based OS while at the same time moving away from Microsoft and others.

If there was any dispute about Android's rise to the top of the market, it was surely gone when BlackBerry announced its recent Priv smartphone would be using the platform.

BlackBerry was initially the main name when it came to smartphones in the workplace, but as Android continued to edge out Apple in the consumer market, it eventually saw off the Canadian firm with few problems.

The fall from grace for BlackBerry's hardware division was massive and caused a complete rethink from top to bottom, having arguably remained stagnant since helping to usher in the new era of mobile working with its collection of trademark keyboard-laden smartphones.

The fall was particularly great considering BlackBerry was a favourite of the US government due to its perceived superior security features.

That was an element of its business it seemed eager to cling on to, with the company taking the step of moving away from producing handsets to instead focus on creating mobile software for enterprises.

Businesses have played a significant role in shaping the mobile market, with trends such as bring your own device (BYOD), contributing to an explosion of mobile hardware in the workplace over the course of recent years.

The use of more mobile devices has coincided with the rise of cloud computing, which has become an increasingly common part of how many companies do business and companies like BlackBerry have been desperate to get a piece of the action.

In September, Tim Choi, vice president of product management at BlackBerry said the company's change of tact was brought on by its previously high standard in the world of mobile working, telling Computer Business Review: "I think BlackBerry really did start the mobile workforce. I remember carrying the old BlackBerry 9000 and 8000 series, with the scroll on the side. We really did start it all off and showed the value of allowing people to work wherever they are.

"We did start it, and that's why I find it an exciting time for the company. Not only do we continue to allow BlackBerry users to be secure and productive, we're now taking our strength and bringing it to other devices such as iOS, Android and PCs."

With the release of the Priv seemingly conflicting with that initial strategy, the next move for BlackBerry and the rest of the market will be awaited with much anticipation by consumers and businesses alike.