In fact, the survey predicts that these two platforms will dominate mobile business usage, with iPhones to account for 42.4 percent of smartphones bought by mobile workers when current contracts expire and Android smartphones comprising 23.8 percent. Only 19 percent wanted the messaging-oriented BlackBerry, which iPass's Wastie says suggests the RIM platform is fated to rapid obsolence. At the SIIA All about Mobile conference this week, Motorola product development exec Rick Bylina, who works on its Android products, joked that Balsillie should donate some BlackBerrys to a museum "so his grandkids will know what a BlackBerry was." The iPass survey also shows declining interest in Nokia, Windows Mobile, and WebOS devices.
Personal and business use are already highly mixed
The iPass survey found that employees who had to buy their own smartphones were less likely to use them for work purposes -- but two-thirds of them still did. In other words, mixed personal/business use is already the norm.
The survey found that 58.2 percent of mobile workers had used a personal device for work, and that percentage didn't vary based on age. Nearly half of employees (46.2 percent) regularly use their own smartphones for work. When workers bought the devices themselves, nearly half of those (45.7 percent) chose iPhones, the survey found. The iPhone was the first choice for both work use (29.7 percent) and personal use (46.1 percent) among those who purchased their own personal smartphones.
When employers provided smartphones, 51.3 percent were BlackBerrys, 20.7 percent were iPhones, and 12.0 percent were the now-discontinued Windows Phone devices. Symbian followed at 7.9 percent and Android at 6.2 percent. About half of mobile workers expect such employers to broaden the range of provided devices, with iPhones and Android topping the list of devices expected to join the employer's menu of options.
Although the iPhone remained the most desired smartphone across all age groups, employees aged 22 to 34 were nearly as hot for the Android platform as for the iPhone (34 percent and 42 percent, respectively). Desire for Android devices dipped to about 25 percent for all other age groups. The BlackBerry was desired by 27 percent of workers aged 55 to 64, typically because of their familiarity with the platform, iPass says, but by only 11 percent of those aged 22 to 34.
The strong desire for iPhones and Android devices was fairly consistent across the globe. But Europe's pattern of mobile desire differed slightly from the rest of the world in that Europeans were less likely to want a BlackBerry (12 percent versus 24 percent in North America and 17 percent in Asia) and more likely to want a Nokia device (11 percent versus 1 percent in North America and 5 percent in Asia).
The risks of mobile devices
A constant concern in IT and legal circles is what happens if a smartphone is lost or stolen and has corporate data on it. That worry is why many organizations carry policies requiring supported devices have on-device encryption and remote-wipe capabilities. (The use of encrypted devices exempts businesses from the laws in most states that require public notification if employee or customer personal data may have been accidentally released. BlackBerry, iOS (used in the iPhone and iPad), Windows Mobile, and some Nokia Symbian devices support on-device encryption; Windows Phone 7, WebOS, and Android devices do not.
The iPass survey shows that device loss is a legitimate concern: 14.3 percent of mobile workers had lost their smartphones or had them stolen. And the percentage was higher for workers aged 22 to 34 (22.9 percent) and those who used their personal devices (20.0 percent).
This article, "The truth about today's mobile user," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com.