Google just announced a new program called Android for Work. It's basically self-explanatory in that its aim is to get more Android smartphones and tablets in use in the workplace.
"Over a billion people today carry Android smartphones—devices that are more powerful than the computers we used just a few years ago," said Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management for Android and Chrome for Work. "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. But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped."
Android for Work comes with work profiles, a dedicated app, Google Play for Work, and built-in productivity tools.
"We’ve built on the default encryption, enhanced SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support in Android 5.0, Lollipop to create a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data," says Sheth. "IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users' personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured. People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won’t erase or view their personal content."
The dedicated app is compatible with devices running Ice Cream through KitKat, or that that don't run work profiles natively. It lets you access secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, and browsing, and allows for access to approved work apps, which are managed by IT.
As far as productivity tools, there's a suite of buisness apps for email, contacts, and calendar, which supports Exchange and Notes. It also provides document editing (including for spreadsheets and presentations).
Google is starting the program with a number of partners in the enterprise mobility management, device, app, and VPN categories.
EMM partners include Airwatch by VMware, BlackBerry, Citrix, MaaS360 by IBM, MobileIron, SAP, SOTI, and of course Google Apps for Work. Businesses already using an EMM solution from an Android for Work partner can set up by obtaining a domain token. Google actually describes Android for Work itself as an EMM platform.
Device partners include: Dell, HP, HTC, Huawei, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony. App partners include: Adobe, Box, Concur, Salesforce, SAP, and SuccessFactors. VPN partners include: Cisco, F5, Palo Alto Networks, and Pulse Secure.
Devices in the program use hardware-based encryption and admin-managed policies "to ensure business data stays separate and safe from malware while personal information stays private," as Google puts it.
"Android for Work users can safely use a single Android device for business and personal use, and companies can provision devices they own or configure work profiles on employee-owned devices.," the company says. "Admins can remotely control all work-related policies, applications, and data, and can wipe them from a device without touching the device owner’s personal data. Android for Work delivers a consistent experience across all devices, and lets users intuitively and effortlessly switch between work and personal apps. Business apps appear with personal apps in the launcher and recent apps list, but business app icons have badges that clearly distinguish them."
Admins are able to to use Google Play for finding, whitelisting, and deploying business apps to Android for Work devices and for deploying internal applications and resources.
Images via Google