Making sure your operatives have the right tools for the job is one of the most important factors when running a business, but when that comes to mobile devices, it doesn’t always have to be the latest and greatest device with all the best features, it just has to be the one that fits the bill. 

Over the years here at Stream, we’ve had many different companies using a whole range of devices to carry out their deliveries & collections, complete walkaround checks and report defects. 

So we thought we’d see if we could uncover:

We asked our experts to dive into our data pool and pull out the answers to our questions about the most popular devices being used to access Stream throughout 2022. 

Android vs IOS – Who wins?

There’s no argument quite like the one which ensues when someone announces their affiliation in the ‘Android vs IOS’ or ‘Google vs Apple’ debate. 

So we wanted to try and understand which side of the fence our users fell on.

The most popular Operating System on devices used with Stream is… Android.

It may come as no surprise that Android claimed the majority here, being the resident operating system on 53.5% of devices being used to access Stream in 2022, with IOS claiming the other 46.5%.

Stream-Devices-by-Operating-System

After all, Android does hold a 71.45% share of the global market for mobile operating systems, compared to 27.83% for IOS (May 2022).

Just like in the ‘Android vs IOS’ debate, Samsung and Apple users so often have their own disputes over which company produces the best devices. 

We wanted to find out who came out on top amongst our Stream customers. 

The most popular manufacturer of devices used with Stream is… Apple. 

Whilst Google claims the win in the first round, with its Android operating system being used on more devices than IOS, Apple claims the second round, with the biggest slice of the pie (46.53%) for manufacturing devices used with Stream. 

Stream-Devices-By-Manufacturer

Samsung (31.68%), Zebra (18.82%) and Nokia (2.97%) all manufacture devices that run on the Android operating system, so collectively they outweigh Apple. 

However, Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices have the edge over each of their competitors individually when it comes to manufacturing the devices being used to access Stream. 

We believe that Apple and Samsung may have come out as front runners here due to them comparatively having the widest range of devices available on the market, with both companies offering tablet options in addition to smartphones. 

Stream is available on any portable device running on Android or IOS and can be downloaded from their respective app stores. 

So we thought it would be interesting to see what the percentage split would be of the different devices that were being used to access Stream. 

The most popular type of device being used with Stream is… the Smartphone. 

Stream-Devices-By-Device-Type

This result is rather unsurprising, given that most people these days (6.648billion worldwide – 83.72% of the world’s population) own a smartphone. 

While some companies choose to let staff complete work tasks on their own device, others will supply employees with specific devices that enable them to perform their work duties. 

Smartphones are a cost-effective solution to this, due to the wide range of manufacturers, models and functionality available, and new technology is developed more rapidly for smartphones than it is for say tablets. 

Rugged devices create a bit of an overlap, because at the core they are technically smartphones, however they are smartphones that have been designed and built to operate in even the most extreme environments. 

Tablets, as we can see from the data above, only make up 20% of the devices being used to access Stream.

We suspect this may have something to do with portability. 

Many of our customers use their device for not only the core functionality of Stream, but also for satellite navigation while the drivers are out on the road and mobiles are better equipped for navigation than tablets as they don’t obscure as much of the windscreen while driving. 

And now for the grand finale. 

The key piece of data we most wanted to find out was which is the single most popular device amongst the Stream users. 

The most popular device model being used with Stream is… the Zebra TC26

Top-10-Devices-Using-Stream

While Zebra only ranked third in the list of most popular device manufacturers, the rugged handheld TC26 is clearly the most popular individual device amongst our Stream subscribers.

The TC26 offers incredible performance in the logistics industry, due to it being able to withstand a great number of drops and impacts, its ability to scan barcodes in difficult conditions (such as low temperatures and low light) and its battery capacity, which is designed to last an entire shift with heavy use. 

Similarly, the Galaxy Xcover 4 by Samsung has also been designed as a rugged handheld device, so it’s no surprise to see that being the third most popular device amongst Stream users. 

The most interesting result in the data was seeing the rise of tablets being used to access Stream. 

However this should not come as a much of a surprise, with tablets being able to offer a great real-estate to improve visibility of data on the display, a bigger space for capturing customer signatures and also the faster processing power that these types of devices usually come equipped with in comparison to smartphones. 

The Verdict

We’ve had a great time digging into the data around the types of devices that our Stream customers are using and here’s the summary of what we found:

  • 53.5% of devices being used to access Stream were on the Android operating system, while 46.5% were on IOS
  • Apple is the overall most popular manufacturer for devices using Stream, with Samsung second, Zebra third and Nokia fourth
  • Smartphones were the overall most popular device type, with rugged handheld devices second and tablets third
  • The Zebra TC26 is the most popular individual device among Stream users, with the iPhone 13 placing second and the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4 in third

So which device really IS best for using with Stream?

While we hate to sit on the fence, the device that’s best to use with Stream really is the one which fits the bill for your specific business requirements. 

If you require a device that can perform in extreme environments, such as very low temperatures, poorly lit conditions or a likelihood of being dropped/impacted, then consider either the TC26 from Zebra, the Galaxy Xcover 4 from Samsung or other handheld rugged devices.

If you want a solid, reliable device which will give you a good few years of service, but also allow staff to perform other tasks outside of Stream, consider the current or previous generations of Apple devices, such as the iPhone 13 or iPhone 14.

If your needs are a little bit different and you’d like your workers to be using tablets, then consider the range of iPads available from Apple or the various Galaxy Tabs from Samsung. 

Or even if you want your staff to perform their duties using their own devices, then that’s absolutely fine, provided they’re using a device which runs on Android or IOS and can connect to a cellular network. 

We’ll be taking a look at the same data again next year to see if there are any changes or anomalies in the most popular devices being used to access Stream, but in the meantime we’ll be seeing what other interesting facts and figures we can find based on the data we have available! [Create a task in a years time to do this]

Now the question is, which device will you be using to access Stream?


The Data referenced in this article is based on devices that have been used to access our Stream platform throughout 2022.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which device is best for Proof of Delivery?

The great thing about the Stream Mobile App is that it works great on any device that’s based on either Android or IOS, with the app being available on both Google Play and the App Store. However the Zebra TC26 is a popular device choice amongst our subscribers due to it having an in-built barcode scanner and with it being a rugged device, is capable of operating in even the most difficult difficult situations, such as extreme temperatures and poorly lit conditions.

What is a rugged handheld device?

Rugged handheld devices (often referred to as mobile computers by the manufacturers) are designed and built for specific work environments with safety, productivity and security in mind. They’re designed to perform in difficult environments, such as having hard-wearing cases to protect them from drops, impacts and scratches, exposure to extreme temperatures and being water & dust resistant, so you don’t need to worry about device failures whilst out on the road.

Do I need a barcode scanner to use Stream?

Absolutely not! Barcode scanning is an optional feature within Stream and it helps to speed up processing in complex logistics operations. However, many of our Stream users are happily using Stream without the barcode scanning functionality.

Do Stream sell rugged devices?

We do indeed. If you’re looking to acquire rugged handheld devices for your logistics operation, we can supply various devices to suit your requirements, including the Zebra TC26. For more information about the rugged devices we can supply, click here.