BES12: Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS and Windows 10 Mobile Comparison

Which mobile operating system should be choosen? And what are the differences in the workflow and what about the Privacy? Are there private and / or professional restrictions?
We compare Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS and Windows 10 Mobile handhelds on the BB10QNX.de BES12.
Yes, we could now enumerate all the advantages of BlackBerry 10, but we will confine ourself to the essence of the systems.

Structure

  • Devices and operating systems
  • Activation Profile
  • BES12 Activation
  • Data security
  • App permissions
  • Encryption
  • Usability
  • Connectivity / Accessories / Media
  • Battery life
  • Signal strength
  • Social Life / Apps
  • Update distribution
  • Conclusion

Devices and operating systems

From left to right: BlackBerry Passport, Samsungs Galaxy S6, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, Nokia Lumia 930

From left to right: BlackBerry Passport, Samsungs Galaxy S6, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, Nokia Lumia 930

Device OS
Apple iPhone 6 Plus iOS 8.4.1
BlackBerry Passport OS 10.3.2
Nokia Lumia 930 Windows 10 Mobile Insider Build 10512
Samsung Galaxy S6 Android 5.1.1
Sony Xperia Z Android 5.0

Note on Windows 10 Mobile and iOS:
The version of Windows Mobile 10 used herein is a beta version. Microsoft plans to release the operating system in the fall of 2015. The activation on BES12 posed no problems. Battery life is almost identical to WindowsPhones 8.1.
The post will be updated on iOS9 rollout mid-September 2015.

Activation Profile

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12) provides a unified administration solution for Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile, whether BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), COPE (Corporate Owned, staff Enabled) or COBO (Corporate Owned, Business Only).
However, there are differences in the profiles, depending on the mobile operating system. The aim is to separate private and professional data by using the BES12. Employment data is encrypted end-to-end with BES12 on the transport and in containers on the devices.

Device Profile
Apple iPhone 6 Work and personal – user privacy
BlackBerry Passport Work and personal –regulated
Nokia Lumia 930 MDM-controls
Samsung Galaxy S6 Work and personal – full control (Samsung KNOX)
Sony Xperia Z Work and personal – user privacy (Secure Work Space)

Why 2 Android smartphones?
Samsung offers on their Galaxy S6 smartphone the KNOX solution. With KNOX a device is secured since startup by Trusted Boot and ARM TrustZone-based Integrity Measurement Architecture (TIMA) and provides a container solution for sensitive data. KNOX workspace can be managed and administered by BES12.2. Advantages: Apps do not have to be wrapped and KNOX is more efficient in energy consumption as the Secure Work Space.

The Sony and the iPhone use the Secure Work Space (each on Android and iOS) for storage and separation of business data and for the communication with the corporate network.

Windows handhelds can only be activated as MDM-C because the lack of secure data container.

On a BlackBerry the user just have to set a business account.

BES12 Activation

Android

BlackBerry

BlackBerry OS

iOS

Windows

Data security

The philosophy of Blackberry: “MDM as an Enabler”:
The user can do whatever he wants, but please, only in the Private Perimeter. The Work Perimeter is worth to protect.

Especially Android is currently scolded. A vulnerability after another is known and the Android update enrollment, but more on this later. Personally, I would, if I had to use an Android, only use Android with KNOX. It protects against malware and tampering with the OS, but for example not against a vulnerability in the Android messaging system.

And the user himself is responsible for his data.
Do you really need a flashlight app that has access on contacts ?!

The user should also be aware that each manufacturer establish connections to its infrastructure to use the data to improve its services.

  • Each system collects anonymous usage and diagnostic data.
    Except for Android all operating systems provide an option to disable the collection of usage data.
  • Many private information on smartphones can be synchronized with the cloud services of the manufacturer but they a different on each system.
    On Windows the contacts and calender is synchronised on the Microsoft Account and it is not possible to disable it.
  • On BlackBerry, iOS and Windows 10 Mobile the user can subsequently withdraw or grant app permissions.

Android can perform the complete usage of Google services, for example the phone lists are affected. The processing of the data takes place on serves in several countries. Furthermore a user can access his data, but only if it can be achieved at reasonable expense. Backups will probably never be deleted from the non-active servers.

Apple passes the data to third parties who provide services for Apple. Data from users in the European Economic Area are stored and processed in Ireland. However, Apple publishes the data to government agencies including those outside the country of residence. Explicitly national security is named as a reason.

BlackBerry users in the European Economic Area agree, that their data are processed outside the European Economic Area. But BlackBerry agrees to complete deletion, destruction or anonymisation of the data if they are no longer needed. BlackBerry can use private information of the user to respond to court orders, warrants or other lawful requests or legal process, or to be able to give emergency assistance in situations that are life-threatening. In this case, BlackBerry does not require consent of the user.

WindowsPhone has the highest number of affected data from these systems. Microsoft noted that the user data possible are possibly stored and process in the US and other countries by Microsoft, its partners, affiliates and service providers. Government authorities also obtain help from the manufacturer.

App permissions

Android: Users are not able to edit the permissions. When installed, you can only accept or reject. Only Android 4.3 and the upcoming Android 6 Marshmallow have integrated a permission management. All other versions have to be rooted.

BlackBerry: The user can grant and revoke app permissions in the setting menu. For Android apps the user has to install App Obs. For Android ported apps there is no possibilty.

iOS: The user is asked on first usage of the apps if he want to prompt or revoke the permissions. Even in retrospect, he can edit them.

Windows 10 Mobile is similar to iOS.

Encryption

All manufacturers offer encryption. Only for WindowsPhone an Exchange server / MDM is needed.

Android and Windows Phone encrypt only on shotdown of the device.
iOS works with non-transparent protection classes.
BlackBerry devices encrypte immediately, even incoming data on a locked device.

Usability

Users want an ergonomic and intuitive operation system.

Each system has a quick access to settings and shortcuts to settings: A swipe from the top of the screen to the middle for access. Except iOS, a user has to swipe from the bottom.

Each system provides a notification center: Swipe from the top of the screen to the middle. Except for BlackBerry, it has the BlackBerry Hub. This is either seen from the homescreen from the far left or from any app by swipe gesture: from the bottom of the screen to the middle and then to the right edge of the display.

All systems are based on a key operation below the display. Except BlackBerry, this system is completely controlled by swipe gestures.

All System are Multitasking systems. But on all systems the user can access an overview of opened applications only through a combination of keys or by pressing a dedicated button. Except for BlackBerry, because this system offers Active frames. After closing an app the user is automatically on the active frames screen, unless the user opens the hub.

On all systems, you can create folders in the application menu and fill them.

On BlackBerry and Windows Mobile 10 the browser address bar is placed at the bottom of the screen. Apple has at least brought the controls down to the bottom.

In all systems, except on BlackBerry 10, have the so-called “Hamburger Button” in the upper part of the display. Ergonomics looks different.

hamburger-300x200-300x200

Android

Android works with launchers. So the user is able to customize the Homescreen in design and functions. The application menu is on a second level. The homescreen shows shortcuts and widgets with live data.

Keyboard: A simple on-screen keyboard, some manufacturers offer a Swype keyboard: You press the first letter of the word and wipes over the following. The word suggestions / corrections appear between keyboard and screen content. They vary greatly in quality. Multi-language support is given. For example on the tested Samsung Galaxy S6 it is possible to adjust the size of the keyboard.

galaxy-s6-tastaturgroesse-anpassen

Work Perimeter: The Secure Work Space is a parallel running Launcher. KNOX can be displayed as a folder or as a launcher.

BlackBerry

BlackBerry 10 works completely on a horizontal level. On the far left is the Hub, the interactive central communication tool, in the middle are the active frames (similar to widgtes) of all open applications and on the right the user finds the application menu and folders.

Keyboard: BlackBerry is one of the few manufacturers with hardware keyboards. On BlackBerry Passport, the keyboard is also touch sensitive and serves as a trackpad. The virtual keyboard offers a unique concept: after pressing the first letter of the word and the potential word is shwon above the successor. If the user wants to accept this word, he swipe up from this point upwards. So far, the fastest virtual keyboard with very good word suggestions.

BlacckBerry-OS10-Tastatur

Work Perimeter: Changing between the perimters is easy and quick. Just one click in the quick menu (if the work perimeter is not locked. Private and Work Perimter have an identical structure.

iOS

iOS offers only an application menu and a fixed bottom dock for some applications.

Keyboard: Simple virtual keyboard. Word suggestions can be found between the keyboard and screen content.

iOS-8-Tastatur

iOS: Similar to Android Secure Work Space.

Windows 10 Mobile

The home screen offers the possibility of Live Tiles: application icons are like widgets. One swipe to the left and the application menu opens in a classical list view with icon and text.

Keyboard: Microsoft offers Swype and displays the word suggestions like Android and iOS. In the virtual keyboard the user finds a joystick for quick navigation or marking texts.

Windows-10-Mobile-Tastatur

No Work Perimeter because there is no container solution on the market.

Learning curve

An expert has tested all the systems. She is 7 years old and is in the first class of primary school.
We wanted to test how fast she is able to handle the OS.

Result and placement (yes, twice 1st place):

  1. BlackBerry
    After she gets the gestures she was pretty fast on the system.
    iOS
    Sometimes a few problems with the home button.
  2. Windows 10 Mobile
    Very easy, but the three buttons at the bottom make some problems.
  3. Android
    To much info on the homescreens with the widgets and some trouble with the 3 buttons at the bottom.

Connectivity / Accessories / Media

With all of the devices the user is able to exchange data with a PC – via USB or Lightning (Apple).

But the iPhone needs iTunes or something similar like CopyTrans, all others can be integrated directly as a mass storage. Apple has a closed system. It restricts the user, sometimes significantly, but the solutions offered work very well.

BlackBerry devices can also partly operate on a PC via BlackBerry Blend. Also on Mac or tablet. Samsung will follow with the new version of SideSync.
Windows 10 comes with Continuum. With this feature on a Windows 10 smartphone the user replace a PC. On old phones it works with an adapter.

All phones have LTE, Bluetooth, headphone jack and a non removable battery.

Only the BlackBerry Passport and the Sony Xperia Z has an SD card slot.

On all systems, there were no problems in dealing with MP3, images or videos, although BlackBerry and Windows does not belong to the “multimedia systems”. Various streaming options are also represented on the systems: DNLA, Miracast etc.

The camera of Lumia 930 is really very good and the app in Windows Mobile 10 becomes easier to use and faster. But the sensors of the Samsung and iPhone are also good. The Samsung sharpens extremely by software and the iPhone has “only” 8MP. BlackBerry must still catch up, but the 13MP image sensor of the Passport series and the camera app in OS10.3.2 are showing good results even though the focus is quite slow and does not constitute or compare to S6 Plus.
Who wants to listen to music have to pick up the BlackBerry Passport or Z30: Stereo and enough strength. All other systems have only mono speaker with less power.

Battery life

First of all: The capacity doesn´t matter, we just want to stay online for at least one business day. Each system has a different hardware and software architecture. But for the comparison we the same accounts on every device. And the devices were used always at the same places.

Only one factor is different: Android has apparently a problem with Exchange accounts and push notifications. The battery loss was too high, so we set the Exchange accounts on interval pull of 1 hour.

Battery life with placement:

  1. BlackBerry Passport. As the professional field is natively integrated into the system, not much has been consumed here. Until late in the evening keeps the unit by.
  2. Nokia Lumia 930. Display on time we had the feeling that every second is 1% less available. The minimal standby consumption is almost unbeaten.
  3. Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 Plus. On the Samsung device KNOX workspace was activated and on the iPhone the Secure Work Space, consumed significantly more energy than KNOX. In the early evening the equipment already had to the power outlet.
  4. Xperia Z. The device was already down in the afternoon due to the Secure Work Space.

Signal strength

Cellular (2-4G) and WiFi:

  1. BlackBerry Passport
  2. Nokia Lumia 930
  3. iPhone 6 Plus
  4. Sony Xperia Z
  5. Samsung Galaxy S6

The Samsung has really disappointed. In places where the BlackBerry can receive data over mobile data, it wasn´t able to make a phone call with the S6.

Social Life / Apps

The user will find all big social networks on all systems. On BlackBerry the user has to choose an Android app instead of a native one.

So BlackBerry users can chooes between native and Android apps. But there is no chance to get Android apps working in the Work Perimeter.

On Windows, everything is currently in upheaval by the introduction of Windows 10. So Android and Apple ports are supported, as well as Universal Apps: These are acquired on one device via Microsoft account and can be used on all systems, whether smartphone, tablet, PC or XBOX.

Update distribution

  • Apple distributes updates via their own infrastructure directly to the device. Not oly the last generation of devices is supported and users do not have to wait too long for the updates.
  • BlackBerry distributes the updates after a testing phase by the mobile operators.
  • Android users need to be careful what device they take. Because every manufactorer enroll their own Android distribution (except AOSP) and they want to sell new phones every 12 – 24 months, of course.. Even small bugfixes as against the vulnerability Stagefright: Google had created the patch quickly, but users had to wait for the manufacturers.
  • Windows 10 Mobile will be similar to iOS.

Conclusion

You can catch all tested systems to communicate securely via BES and edit company data, except with Windows 10 Mobile. Companies should choose BlackBerry handhelds because of safety and productivity. In a pinch Android, but only with Knox. Why Android over iOS? Because of Secure Connect Plus. It´s an IP tunnel for BES activated Android and BlackBerry handhelds. But for Android you need an extra app in the container.

Those looking for a colorful and open system, Android is the right choice. The system proves itself as a power-hungry and error-prone as a manufacturer issue. From Android 5.1 Google Android for Work is available. Parts of KNOX are working in this multi-user solution. This solution is not as power hungry as Secure Work Space, but has just coarse-grained IT policies.

Those looking for a reduced and closed system should look at Apple products. While it is not as “free” as in many other systems, but if you use Apple solutions, these work pretty good together with other Apple products. Just be aware of the Apple marketing.
For example: Yes, the iPhone makes great photos. But 8MP are still 8MP and can not display the details like the 20MP sensor with Zeiss Lens of Lumias.
But the software is perfectly adapted to the hardware and the overall product is very efficient.

Windows 10 Mobile wants to be personal and professional on one system. Yes, Exchange and Office are going very well and it´s productively. And the layout with Live Tiles and the application list is nice.
But we discourage the missing containers, the coarse granular configuration options and the Windows 10 acquisitiveness.

BlackBerry has the best of both app worlds: Android (without Google Services) and native. So you have lifestyle and productivity.
The systems is as performant as iOS and Windows Mobile 10. The gesture control is well implemented and internalized rapidly. The settings are very fine-grained. The Hub and balance (the separation of private and business data) are unique and increase productivity immensely.
For companies the app Work Drives is interesting: a direct native integration of Sharepoint and Active Directory. So other cloud solutions are obsolete.

Original posted on BB10QNX.de


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