Gartner has a long-standing position that antivirus software is not very effective and can degrade device performance. The analysis firm believes Google should vet apps before they are made available.
Jiang said he believes antivirus technology is needed because a large number of people outside of the U.S. download apps from marketplaces other than Google Play, increasing the risk of installing malware.
In addition, if security requires people to limit the number of apps they use, the value of the smartphone or tablet is diminished, because users cannot fully extend its features, Jiang said.
"If the user just buys the phone and never uses any additional apps and never clicks any untrusted links, then likely he will not need any [antivirus] solutions," Jiang said.
Most experts believe mobile malware is still at the beginning stages. However, the technology is maturing and the number of malicious apps continues to grow. In a 2013 trend report released Tuesday, security vendor ESET found that the number of unique malware soared 17 times globally this year, when compared to 2011.
The number is expected to rise "much more rapidly in 2013," the report said.
Read more about wireless/mobile security in CSOonline's Wireless/Mobile Security section.