As smart phones and tablets proliferate, the number of personal devices allowed to be connected to the corporate network is growing due to perceived cost savings and productivity gains. Five years ago, when the emerging trend of employees bringing their own devices to work was first captured by Intel, many employees in the workforce continued to use employer-issued devices, such as BlackBerrys, because of privacy and security concerns. Nowadays, as mobile devices adoption grows, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) marketplace has become a battlefield where Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG Electronics, and Nokia are vying for the enterprise user pie.
The fierce competition amongst mobile device providers to include business-ready features offers a great variety of choices for enterprise buyers. Here’s a list of smartphones that we have found to have powerful specs such as clear screens, long battery life, and reduced weight. With this summary, we hope to help you identify the devices that best suit your workers’ needs.
iPhone 6 Plus
The shortage of iPhone 6 Plus stock around the world suggests a robust demand, in part by enterprise power users. The expanded utility can be attributed to a combination of upgraded hardware and software, and the clear retina display makes working with corporate documents much easier on the go. The large screen wins over many enterprise power users, as they find iPhone 6 Plus to be the perfect substitute for their tablets, which used to have a big advantage for document-based projects. In addition, enterprise-grade security features are even more powerful in iOS 8: for example, data protection is expanded to more apps and finer control is enabled over connection encryption.
- 5.5-inch 1920×1080 display
- Touch ID
- Weighs 6.07 ounces (172 grams)
- Battery life: Up to 16 days (384 hours) stand-by time
- Price: $749 lowest
- Advanced camera with increased image accuracy
- Excellent call quality for quick conversations with coworkers
- Tough, scratch and scrape resistant, good for frequent use on business trips
- The flip side of the solid battery life is that charging takes a long time
- Its big size may cause difficulty in carrying for some mobile workers
Inspired by actual passports as a symbol for universal mobility, the Passport is BlackBerry’s latest flagship product built for the enterprises and productivity. BlackBerry, the dominant enterprise mobility provider traditionally known for its “all work, no play” philosophy , still remains on most CIOs’ radars. In addition to the security features in the OS for managing, auditing, and securing data, apps, and hardware such as cameras, the Passport has several layers of hardware security in its components. This also explains why President Obama won’t switch his BlackBerry to an iPhone.
- 4.5-inch 1440×1440 display
- 3450 mAh battery, up to 30 hours of mixed use
- Touch-enabled QWERTY keyboard
- Weighs 6.88 ounces (195 grams)
- Price: $599 lowest
- Convenient QWERTY keyboard that makes composition of messages easier
- Built-in BlackBerry Assistant helps execute tasks quickly such as responding to important emails, scheduling a meeting or getting directions
- The wide design make one-handed control difficult
- Poor third-party app support: some standard requirements were reportedly either unavailable or prone to crashing on the Passport
- Sluggish camera compared to benchmark smartphones
Google Nexus 6
As the first official Nexus 6 reviews appear along with carrier pre-orders for the gadget, the latest Nexus phone has already impressed many with its new design look, fast speed, and the gorgeous Lollipop OS that it runs on. Encryption is turned on automatically for Nexus 6, which is extremely appealing to enterprise administrators worried about information security, and other notable features include easy backup and synchronization between devices.
- 5.96-inch 2560×1440 Display
- 2.7 Ghz Snapdragon 805 Processor, 3GB RAM
- Runs Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
- Weighs 6.49 ounces (184 grams)
- Price: $649
- Water-resistant, perfectly prepared for any weather and travel conditions
- Runs on Android 5.0 (Lollipop) with guaranteed updates to later versions
- Long battery life with talk time of up to 24 hours
- No option for expandable storage, imposing limits on the number of files and applications
- Some users might find it too big to be used on the go
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
No other phone on our list comes with a stylus, and that’s where the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 stands out. The design of the Note 4 continues Samsung’s newly adopted metallic look, combined with a high-resolution screen. The power of a stylus for mobile workers cannot be overlooked: it makes working on documents and apps in general much easier. Samsung has made great strides over the past couple of years in making their offerings enterprise-ready: Samsung KNOX, for instance, highlights the IT giant’s effort to create a security platform suitable for highly-regulated industries.
- 5.7-inch 2650 x 1440 display
- Weighs 6.2 ounces (176g)
- Up to 20 hour talk time
- Fingerprint sensor (PayPal certified)
- Price: $840
- S Pen Stylus makes working on documents much easier
- Quick charge (up to 50% capacity within 30 minutes)
- Superior image quality from cameras accurately captures details
- Not completely water proof, which could be a problem in inclement weather/workplace mishaps
- Delicate, requires extra effort to handle with care
- Expensive, compared with other phablets offering similar features and UI
HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 has been much feted for its advanced design, quality and speed. The M8 is available on Android or on Windows, and is now available on AT&T and T-Mobile, after months as a Verizon exclusive. Widely considered a benchmark for mobile device design and hardware quality, the M8 is a great choice for enterprise users looking for large-screen phablets with a premium UI design.
- Weighs 5.64 oz (160g)
- 5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixels display
- 32 GB built-in storage, storage expansion up to 128 GB
- 20.7 days stand-by time, up to 20-hour talk time
- Price: $639
- Powerful processor that ensures fast and smooth workflow
- Excellent sound quality for various outdoor settings
- Not completely waterproof, not prepared for inclement weather/workplace mishaps
- Mediocre camera, not the best option if image accuracy is a priority
While we’ve listed out the pros and cons of the above smartphones for enterprises, it is important to poll your employees and get a sense of which features they value more in their work routines, ensuring optimal alignment of the smartphone choice and their workflow. Another approach would be to allow employees to select their own devices: we’ve written before on the various device policies currently in vogue.
The most important consideration is what you’re actually going to put on the phones: as our CEO Michael once wrote in Forbes, there is a key difference between business-ready apps like Lua, and more consumer-facing software. Keep an eye out for whether your enterprise considerations are being met: information security, scalability across a large network, and ease of Admin control.
Are you using any of the phones listed above? What types of phones do you equip your mobile workforce with and how do they like them? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting at @getLua!