When my business grew from a single person to a full team, we faced many decisions that would prove crucial to our future. One of the most important decisions was what mobile devices we would use. Many companies I’ve worked with in the past preferred BlackBerry, because of their strong enterprise roots. Others preferred iPhone, because their employees enjoyed using them the most and because they are easy to integrate into IT systems. So which would my company choose?
As it turns out, we chose neither BlackBerry nor iPhone for our workforce. Instead we traveled a path that few businesses followed. We chose to deploy Android smartphones to our staff. Android might not be thought of as a business platform, but for small businesses it might just be the best option. There were five main reasons we chose Android above the others, and all five have proven our decision the correct one time and time again.
1. We use Gmail
When I hired my first round of staff, I noticed that they all sent in their resumes via Gmail. I myself used Gmail for Business, and wasn’t particularly looking forward to switching over to Outlook or Thunderbird for work email. Thankfully, Google makes it easy to create corporate Gmail accounts for small businesses.
When it comes to mobile Gmail, there is no better platform than Android. While Google has released a Gmail app for iPhone, it still has its problems. Gmail also integrates, via Microsoft Exchange, with iPhone, but it lacks functionalities that we use regularly, such as archiving emails. The Gmail for Android app has all the amenities we need as an organization. The ability to use multiple accounts, thereby allowing employees to access both their work and personal accounts from the same phone, made the decision easy.
2. Integrated services
As with most small businesses, we need multiple points of connection. That means instant messaging for basic coordination, email for larger projects, and video conferencing for more intensive discussions. While those services are available in some form or another on BlackBerry and iPhone, none are quite as integrated as on Android.
My company loves how our contacts lists show us if someone is available on instant messenger with Google Talk. We use Google Hangouts extensively, as many businesses use Skype for video conferences. These services work together seamlessly, allowing us to access all functions whether we’re at our desktops or away on our smartphones.
3. Handset selection
Different people have different preferences when it comes to smartphones. Some people love the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen so much that they scoffed when Apple increased it to 4 inches with the iPhone 5. Some people really do like having the physical keyboard, like the one BlackBerry offers. What we found appealing about Android is that the dozens of available phones means we can get different phones to match the desires of our different staff members.
While many will choose the latest model, such as the Galaxy SIII, others will gravitate towards smaller models that offer features they enjoy. For instance, one of our staff members likes the HTC Sense UI, so she got the One X, while one likes a truly compact devices and chose one of the LG Optimus models. We like that we’re not stuck with a single model phone, like enterprise iPhone users are.
4. Customizable experience
There is one big reason I chose Android over iPhone as my personal phone, even before we started incorporating them in the business: there are far more customization options. I can create multiple home screens and arrange them how I’d like. I can choose widgets over standard app icons. I can create shortcuts that work the way I want them to, not the way a designer intended them. The team seems to enjoy these features as well.
5. NFC technology
There seems to be good reason Apple left NFC out of the latest iPhone: it hasn’t really caught on yet as a mainstream technology. Yet many Android phones have begun incorporating NFC, or Near Field Communications, in their devices. While mobile payments seem to be the big, long-term goal of NFC, there are other features that my team finds useful.
Samsung ran an ad campaign recently, and in one of the commercials they showed two people touching phones and sharing a playlist. Instant file sharing is a feature of NFC we use constantly. Once close enough in proximity, our team members can share all sorts of information without having to send email attachments or use USB flash drives. We combine this with our cloud storage to create a truly mobile working environment.
Lance Trebesch is the CEO of TicketPrinting.com & Ticket River which offers a variety of event products and ticketing services. After nineteen years of Silicon Valley experience, Lance found the key to happiness is helping customers worldwide beautify and monetize their events with brilliant print products and event services. Listening to his customers and learning about how they plan their events – ranging from concerts to fundraisers has helped him gain insight and expertise on how to host a successful event that he is always eager to share.
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