Enterprise Mobility Grows As Hardware Shipments Spike

Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt
Posted: 10/12/2017
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Hardware Shipments

While businesses grapple with mobile transformation and all that comes with it – app use, security needs, BYOD or COPE – there are no signs of the hardware device purchases slowing down.

According to a new study by Strategy Analytics, hardware device shipments in Q2 of 2017 spiked compared to the same time frame last year, as business smartphone shipments grew by 14.8%, reaching 107.1 million units, which was up 6.1% from Q1 of this year.

Additionally, business tablet shipments also saw a nice bump, seeing a 0.7% increase year over year in Q2, but a 7.5% jump from Q1 with a total of 17.3 million units sent out.

“Overall, the business smartphone industry expanded steadily in the second quarter, Samsung saw positive shipment growth while Apple’s shipments slipped by 11%,” said Gina Luk, Principal Analyst with Strategy Analytics. “Android and iOS are the two dominant operating systems in the market as Windows 10 smartphone shipments continued to be squeezed out by the industry with close to zero market share.”

While the uptick for business devices was evident, consumer purchases still made up for more than 63% of global shipments, Luk said.

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As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, Microsoft publicly announced it was ending support for its Windows Phone 8.1, and hasn’t been shy about its near abandonment of enterprise mobility, now diverting its attention to artificial intelligence and cloud services.

For companies whose employees are using Windows Phone 8.1, this doesn’t mean the device is useless, but will become antiquated sooner than most, considering OS updates from Apple and Android are fast and furious, pushing through new software and patches on an annual basis, if not sooner. It also means new apps being built for the enterprise likely won’t be compatible with the now-outdated Windows OS.

While not confirmed, the dip in iPhone shipments year over year likely came as a result of the much anticipated September unveiling of Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X, all loaded with iOS 11, a bringing forth drastic changes for how mobile workers do business.

Updated security features and retooled messaging apps will certainly help enterprises move forward with iOS 11, but there are other features that could potentially be game changers as technology use emerges in business.

“The most notable (update) is Apple’s implementation of its ARKit which will offer developers the opportunity to integrate sophisticated augmented reality features directly into applications,” said Eric Klein, Director of Mobile Research at VDC Research. “Developers have been busy creating apps using the ARKit.” Learn more about iOS 11’s enterprise impact here.

Despite the promising increase in shipments from Q1 to Q2 and year over year, Strategy Analytics believes the market will remain volatile, with longer replacement cycles and GDPR impacting the market in the short and mid-term. The increase also shows a push toward corporately-owned, personally enabled (COPE) platforms within the business setting, as enterprises continue to purchase hardware for mobile deployments. 

Jason Koestenblatt
Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt