Microsoft's mobile OS reboot turns out to be a small update that lacks enterprise security and rich apps but is a cleaner alternative to Google's Android for smartphones
Windows Phone 7.5 vs. Android 2.3: Security and management
As I said at the beginning, "Mango" lacks any meaningful security or management capabilities a larger business would need. The handful of Exchange policies it can enforce include requiring a password to use the device, requiring a complex password, expiring passwords after a period of time, preventing password reuse, and allowing a device to be remotely wiped if it's lost or stolen. There's no VPN support and no on-device encryption -- two typical enterprise needs.
Android "Gingerbread" is actually worse -- with fewer password management controls than Windows Phone 7. However, Motorola Mobility sells Android smartphones with security raised to nearly iOS standards. And you can use a third-party app such as NitroDesk TouchDown or mobile device management (MDM) tool to provide a securable, manageable space in Android for corporate data such as email, contacts, and calendars.
Android does support VPNs, unlike Window Phone. But Android "Gingerbread" has difficulty connecting to certificate-based wireless LANs, such as those using the PEAP protocol, whereas Windows Phone 7 easily connected to such LANs. (Google tells me PEAP is supported but requires extra work by both IT and users to create the connection; the company is looking at making the process simple in a future update.)
Android can back up settings, contact, calendar, and email data wirelessly to your Google account online. Windows Phone doesn't have this capability. But it does let you find your phone from Microsoft's website if you lose it, as long as you've entered your Windows Live credentials as an account on the device. This is not a standard capability in Android, though some Android device makers provide the service.
The winner: A tie, as both are weak in this category. However, Android can be made more securable through the use of third-party software, whereas Windows Phone cannot.
Windows Phone 7.5 vs. Android 2.3: Overall winner
When all is said and done, does the beauty beat the geek -- does pretty Penny triumph over awkwardly geeky Raj? When it comes to the hard numbers, no -- Android squeaks by Windows Phone. But when it comes to personality -- who you want to spend time with -- Windows Phone is much more copacetic, as long as your needs are simple.
- Feature-by-feature comparison: "Mobile deathmatch: Apple iOS 5 vs. Google Android"
- Test Center review: "Motorola's Photon 4G: The best Android smartphone yet"
- InfoWorld's library of tablet comparisons and user-configurable comparison tools
- InfoWorld's library of smartphone comparisons and user-configurable comparison tool"
- InfoWorld how-to: "Mobile Management Deep Dive" PDF special report
- Slideshow: iOS 5 and iCloud: The InfoWorld visual tour
- Test Center picks: The best iPad office apps and the best iPad specialty apps
- Test Center picks: The best iPhone office apps and the best iPhone specialty apps
- Test Center picks: The best Android office apps and the best Android specialty apps
This article, "Beauty and the geek: Windows Phone 'Mango' vs. Android," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in mobile computing, read Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog at InfoWorld.com, follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter, and follow InfoWorld on Twitter.
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