By 2016, Android could seize as much as 45% of the overall smartphone market. This might be something to consider as you develop the mobile strategy at your construction company going forward.

These days it’s all about being mobile. The construction market is certainly no stranger to mobile technology–in fact; some would argue having the right mobile hardware and software in place can be a true differentiator in the market today. As CIOs (chief information officer) and IT managers develop plans for deploying and managing mobile devices within their company, there are many factors to consider.

When making this prediction of 45% marketshare in 2016 for Google’s Android OS, ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, Oyster Bay, N.Y., notes the fact that of the 302 million smartphones shipped in 2010 roughly 69 million were running this operating system. Supporting this argument is Canalys, www.canalys.com, Palo Alto, Calif., which believes Android has already pulled ahead in the market. The technology analysis firm announced Android had become the world’s preferred smartphone platform in Q4 2010, taking 32.9% of the global market. This is up from just 8.7% in the year ago period.

Of course, the conversation on mobile operating system must also include tablets and netbooks, which have become a must-have for more and more construction companies in 2011. Here is where Apple still takes the lead. According to Gartner, www.gartner.com, Stamford, Conn., Apple’s iOS will continue to own the majority of the worldwide media tablet through 2015. The research firm says it will account for 69% of media tablet operating systems in 2011, and represent 47% of the media tablet market in 2015. This is in comparison to Android’s stake in the tablet operating system game, which is forecast to grow from 20% to 39% in that same timeframe.

Again, the openness of Android means contractors have choices in which tablet they can use, whereas with Apple you are tied to only the iPad. However, the iPad, the device that had what some would argue “game-changing ramifications” on the tablet market, continues to rate well in construction. This device has made its way into the hands of the some of the biggest contractors in the world.

Not to overlook Research In Motion, www.rim.net, Waterloo, Ont., Gartner says it will see its share of the smartphone market decline by the end of 2012. However, analysts at Gartner believe the company’s transition from BlackBerry OS to QNX, which is expected in 2012, will be advantageous as it can help the company create a consistent experience going from smartphones to tablets with a single developer community, among other factors.

We can talk about which mobile OS provider will win more marketshare, and which one will lose marketshare all day. However, the real winners through it all are the end users, which ultimately benefit from multiple choices. In the end, it could be the options that make the biggest difference when determining which devices to deploy in their field for construction.