Android For Work To ‘Tap’ Full Business Potential Of Google’s Mobile OS

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Android for Work aims to make it easier to secure and manage devices in the workplace

Google has officially launched Android for Work, promising it will unlock the full business potential of the operating system.

It will do this, Google said, by making it easier for businesses to manage applications and devices using a range of existing software and enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms.

First announced last year, Android for Work is compatible with a number of EMM and application providers, including SAP, BlackBerry, AirWatch, Box and Salesforce, and has the support of major manufacturers like Samsung, HP and LG.

Google said although many users already use their Android smartphone to perform work tasks, it wants to provide businesses with the tools to unlock the full business potential of the one billion Android devices in circulation.

Android for Work

Android for Work 1“For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals,” said Rajen Sheth, director of product management, Android and Chrome for Work. “But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilised in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped.

“Today we’re announcing the Android for Work program to tap into that potential. With a group of partners, we’re helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform.”

Any device running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or later can be managed, although Lollipop 5.0 is required to take advantage of all the features, such as work profiles. Administrators can secure and manage data and apps in the work profile with users safe in the knowledge that their personal information is not being monitored.

For versions of Android that do not support work profiles natively, the Android for Work app replicates much of this functionality. Google has also created a suite of business apps for email, contacts and calendars and a dedicated Google Play for Work aims to simplify the secure deployment of applications.

Enterprise mobility is becoming a hotly contested market as businesses become more mobile and manufacturers seek to maintain growth as the consumer smartphone market saturates. Samsung is particularly keen on increasing its share with services like Knox, while Apple and IBM have teamed up to provide industry-specific applications and iPads to enterprise customers.

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