In mobile computing, two platforms have emerged as dominant choices: Apple's iOS, which runs on the iPad and iPhone, and Google's Android, deployed on a variety of systems, including Motorola Mobility's Xoom tablet. For developers and users, the two platforms each offer distinct differences both technically and in their app store strategies.
Developers are lining up in the respective iOS and Android camps, citing enterprise and developer benefits ranging from multivendor support for Android to more maturity for iOS. Although some IT shops and developers are sure to back both platforms, pronounced differences between the two mean there can be no attitude that they're both the same when it comes to developing apps.
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Android, iOS vie for customers, and developers are watching carefully
Android's multivendor strategy, as opposed to the Apple-only availability of iOS, could lead to it capturing the enterprise, similar to how Windows won out on the desktop, says Robert Mac Hale, project evangelist at Lingo-Bingo.com, where he is helping develop a mobile application development framework: "Within five years, Android should go farther [in adoption] than iOS by a large margin."
To help make this happen, Google may need to cooperate with Microsoft to ensure interoperability between Android and Microsoft Exchange, he says. "As I inventory complaints from iPhone users transitioning to Android, the Outlook sync problem is at the top of the list. Imagine someone entrenched in Outlook without Exchange Server: Their calendar and contacts contain a map of their personal life and business relationships," which is often lost due to Android's lack of support for Exchange security features.