Digging into Survey: Mobile Device Preference

Earlier this month we released the results of our 2012 Apple in in Law Firms survey. Over the coming weeks, we’ll do a series of deep dives into sections and see how the results compare over the past three years. 

We’ll start with mobile device preference. The breakdown from 2010 is as follows:

At the time, we didn’t see this as very surprising since the iPhone was the biggest introduction to the market, and clearly changed it. Android-based devices were a whisper, easily overshadowed by the iPhone. The impact of the iPhone was confirmed a year later, in 2011:

Surprising, at the time, was the rapid rise of Android-based devices. They went from a curious entrant to knocking BlackBerry out of second. It is fair to argue that BlackBerry suffered from the double-punch of iPhones and Android-based devices in 2011. Naturally, we were curious if its struggles would be reflected in this year’s survey, too, so let’s take a look:

Not surprisingly, iPhone remains dominate with Android-based devices a solid second choice. BlackBerry declined, as did the Palm Pre. So, what does all this suggest? Two things:

  1. Mobile devices are a necessity for the practice of law. 
  2. Lawyers are increasingly splitting into two camps: iPhone v. Android. 

As cloud computing has matured and become more accepted in the legal industry, use of mobile devices like iPhones and Android-based devices is almost second nature. Having access to case files, client contact information and documents while on the go or in court is more necessity today than a trend. It is less a question of using mobile devices and more a question of whether or not lawyers will only use mobile devices.

The split into two specific camps isn’t necessarily surprising since both platforms have demonstrated their ability to help lawyers be more productive, organized and remain connected to the office. A more interesting thing to watch might be the use of applications, and if there is a shift either towards the platform becoming irrelevant, or towards more specialized applications based on platform.

One final observation: the continued decline of the “Other” category. We haven’t broken out Windows specifically, but with the release of Windows 8 devices and Microsoft’s push towards “the cloud,” it will be interesting to see what happens in 2013.