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Today's employees want to work with the same mobile devices they use in their personal lives while they are in the office. As a result, IT pros must know the different options and understand which devices are a realistic fit in the enterprise.
There is a sea of devices to pick through. Not only do admins need to understand the differences between each mobile operating system, they have to know which device types within those OSes have enterprise viability. Take the Apple Watch; it created a big stir when Apple released it, but does it really have any enterprise value? At this point, it's little more than a sidekick to an iPhone or iPad, and comes with some security concerns because it passes information between devices that hackers could intercept.
Learn more about enterprise mobile devices, including the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, BlackBerry Android devices and more.
Will the iPhone SE and iPad Pro catch on?
Earlier this year, Apple made two product announcements that, on the surface, seemed odd: the iPhone SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Both products are essentially smaller versions of existing iOS devices, and the news sparked questions about what role, if any, these devices might have in the enterprise. The iPhone SE, which looks like the iPhone 5 but packs the punch of the iPhone 6, brings business potential because of its price. For comparison, the iPhone SE with 64 GB is $545, while the iPhone 6s is $820. The SE even has an A9 processor and TouchID capabilities.
The idea behind the smaller iPad Pro is similar: Bring the power of the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro into a smaller package. Its size makes the new iPad Pro a better enterprise fit because users can easily travel with it or work with it in the field.
Can tablets ever surpass laptop PCs?
With tablets growing more sophisticated, they are often actually a better fit than laptop PCs for many tasks. And if IT departments pick tablets that are cheaper than full-fledged laptop PCs, it is fair to wonder if tablets could ever overtake laptop PCs in the enterprise. Right now the laptop PC still has the upper hand, but the gap is closing in a few key areas, like performance.
Most tablets have processors and graphics processors that can match, if not exceed, laptop PC performance. Tablets are considerably more portable than laptops because they are lighter and take up less space. In addition, tablet accessories, such as Bluetooth keyboards, allow users to turn their devices into makeshift laptops with ease.
Which Android devices are good for the enterprise?
If an organization is looking at Android devices for its users, it's important to know which ones are a good enterprise fit. Because there are so many hardware manufacturers that build devices for Android, it can be difficult to know which ones are appropriate for business. The first thing IT admins should do in their search is look at what devices other companies use.
Samsung devices with Samsung for Enterprise (SAFE) are a safe bet. With SAFE devices, admins can work with virtual private network software. SAFE devices also include enhanced support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and on-device encryption.
A quiz on Android mobile device security
Despite their reputation for shoddy security, different Android devices and versions offer security and management features for IT. Test your Android knowledge.
Security isn't the only consideration with Android devices. Each Android device has its own characteristics, so users with specific needs are going to want to work with specific devices. For example, any user who needs to take a lot of photos is going to want to use the HTC One M9 for its high-quality camera. On the other hand, a worker who is around water might prefer the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, which are intended to be waterproof.
What about BlackBerry Android devices?
Android is very popular among consumers and has a treasure trove of apps. BlackBerry has always offered secure devices, but its popularity dropped off a cliff, and there are very few apps designed for the company's latest OS, BlackBerry 10. So, what did BlackBerry do? It brought the power and popularity of Android to BlackBerry phones, such as the Priv.
One of the key security additions is DTEK. The feature monitors the apps users work with and the OS itself. If anything suspicious pops up, DTEK informs users immediately. Suspicious activity includes unauthorized access to the device's camera, microphone, text messaging, contacts, location tracking or financial information. Organizations can team DTEK with Android for Work -- Google's security program that gives IT the power to place business apps in a work-specific profile -- for even tighter security.
A deeper look at the BlackBerry Priv powered by Android
Understand Android device management
Smaller iPad Pro could spur Apple's enterprise use