Android vs. Apple: Which is the right platform for kiosks and mPOS?

Between the two of them, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple and Android are conquering the world. Together, they make up over 92% of all mobile operating systems in the world.

In the first quarter, Android’s market share rocketed up from the same time last year, from 59.1% to 75%, with 62.1 million shipment volumes reported—almost double the shipment volume of a year ago. In the meantime, the Apple iOS market share dropped from 23 percent and 35.1 million shipments to only 17.3 percent and 37.4 million shipments.

But the other 8 percent of the market currently belongs to Microsoft and BlackBerry. Windows Phone operating system is increasing at a rapid clip, up to 3.2% with 7 million shipments, as compared to 2012’s 2% share a year ago. As Microsoft partners with Nokia, it is positioning itself as a solid but equal alternative to the market leaders. But the BlackBerry is suffering, down more than half (from 6.4% share to 2.9%), a distant fourth in the market—though industry leaders suggest that the new BB10 device could make the difference, with over a million units shipped in just the first quarter.

Overall, it could be said that the very concept, execution, and convenience of smart mobile devices in general are winning the consumer market—but Android and iOS are the real players. But how does Android and iOS stack up in the business world?

Kiosk rollouts require a balance of enterprise security, easy management, and end-user satisfaction and business requirements. Both Android and iOS meet those requirements—and each has its own benefits.

The benefits of iOS:

  • Your customers are very familiar and comfortable with iOS, so they’re more than willing to approach a kiosk solution using the iOS interface and use it, in whatever context it’s found.
  • One of the most important security issues to address is limiting access to other apps on your kiosk—and with App Lock, iOS apps are simple and easy to lock down and manage remotely.
  • iOS appears in three separate form factors, adding flexibility and choice to your deployment. And it’s easy to develop one app to run smoothly on any or all of the three.

The benefits of Android:

  • With a particularly broad range of manufacturers and form factors, it’s easy to track down the right size, supply and cost for any deployment of any size.
  • Android tablets lockdown flexibility helps you lock your tablet kiosk into a single app or create a whitelist of apps that are available to your end user, while still ensuring they stay out of other places on your tablet, like Settings.

Whatever the market shows, no mobile operating system is perfect. But each has the features and flexibility you need to integrate the third-party apps that will help you create a truly seamless tablet kiosk deployment.

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About the Author: Michael Girdley