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BYOD popularity surges with iPhone & Android favoured over BlackBerry

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has picked up more steam in recent months with the number of global mobile workers using their own smartphones at work approaching nearly 50 per cent, and the number of employers provisioning staff with handsets falling sharply, according to a new survey by iPass.

The mobile managed services provider will release its Q4 Mobile Workforce Report on Thursday, which surveyed nearly 1,700 mobile workers at 1,100 enterprises around the world.

The latest iPass research found that 46 per cent of surveyed employees say they use their own smartphones for work, up from 42 per cent in the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of companies that provision employees with smartphones fell sharply to 33 per cent in the time period researched, down from 58 per cent in 2011.

There were more interesting tidbits from the iPass study, including a breakdown of favourite devices among mobile workers.

The iPhone held on to the top spot in terms of popularity among those surveyed, with 53 per cent naming Apple's handset as their first choice, up from 45 per cent the year before. Phones running Google's Android mobile operating system eclipsed RIM's BlackBerry smartphones in popularity for the first time since iPass has been conducting its research.

Meanwhile, just 5 per cent of those polled said they currently use one of Microsoft's Windows Phone devices but iPass noted that 8 per cent think they'll be getting one by the end of 2013.

Turning to tablets, Apple's iPad remained the most popular slate in the enterprise, with 54 per cent of respondents saying they either owned one or planned to get one by the end of next year, according to iPass.

The remote workforce-focused MSP also pointed to a potential clash of priorities between enterprises and employees stemming from the BYOD movement. Apparently, mobile workers rate connectivity cost as their least important criteria when selecting a mobile network provider, "creating the potential for a 'bill shock' response by enterprises that don't have cost control policies as part of their BYOD plan," iPass said.

What's more, connectivity issues are affecting respondents' productivity more than ever, in their view. About half said "poor connectivity is impacting their efficiency" this year, up from 42 per cent in 2011.

One thing's for sure - mobile workers value the heck out of their devices. Those surveyed ranked their smartphones behind only their wallets and keys as "the most important items in their lives," iPass reported.