When it comes to official use, Windows and iOS are far more popular platforms in comparison to Android. In order to gain some ground, Google came up with a new program called Android for Work for enterprises to regulate data and apps that employees store and use on their smartphones and tablets. With the launch of Android for Work, Google has taken a huge step towards popularizing Android devices not only for workplace use, but also for use on devices kept at digital payment kiosks.
Android for Work has already made an impact with more than 19000 establishments either using or testing the service. Here are a few reasons why Android for Work is turning out to be a masterstroke for Google:
1. Allow smooth transition between personal and work related data
To make sure employees are not forced to use multiple devices (one for personal and one for official work), Google safeguarded all business data on Android for Work by encrypting and securing it completely even if the device gets into the wrong hands. For example, with AFW it is now possible for workers to run one Evernote profile for personal use and another for official use on the same device. This is a very smart move made by Google to repackage their consumer tools for use in the world of business.
2. Developers do not have to fine-tune mobile apps for Android for Work
Developers of mobile applications do not have to make any changes to the app for it to work on the Android for Work platform as Google has made AFW functional with automatic containerization of applications.
3. Android for Work has borrowed features from Samsung KNOX
Users will be able to manage the device easily with the KNOX container as a customary part of the release. The availability of KNOX adds to the enterprise-friendly nature of AFW. Android for Work contains most of the non-hardware specific features of KNOX like data separation technology and enterprise APIs. However, there are certain features of KNOX which are not a part of Android for Work.
4. Android for Work app exclusively for older versions of Android
Employees using older versions of Android won’t have to update to the latest version. For such employees, Google has come up with AFW app which offers a similar experience. With multi-user support and SeLinux security feature in Android 5.0, business and personal data can be maintained separately in the new “Work Profile” which has been incorporated in Android 5.0 “Lollipop” version.
5. Comprises of a Device Policy Client app
With the Device Policy Client app, enterprises will be able to develop and maintain multiple work profiles. With this app admins can manage trusted credentials and permissions for USB devices. They can also modify secure system settings and enable or disable app components.
In future, there is also a possibility that handset manufacturers will come up with devices that are preloaded with such tools. Google is already partnering with enterprise mobility management solution providers to incorporate Android for Work into their solution. Customers who want to join this program will have to engage with them to manage data and apps on their employees’ mobile devices.
The introduction of Android for Work is just a small step in the right direction and how effective this is going to be, only time will tell.