Today Gartner Research released analysis showing Android to control about half of worldwide smartphone market by Year-End 2012. You probably don't have to look further than your own hand to know Android has become a very popular option across every major carrier. Android has also been a boon for manufacturing partners. Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, who recently passed RIM in market value has now passed Nokia as well. HTC worked with Google on the Nexus One, still one of the best Android devices, and has continued to turn out popular devices like the Droid Incredible. Android's impact on HTC's profit margins was dramatic and is the reason of the company's soaring value.
Like the widely successful iPhone and iPad devices running iOS, Android has presented the enterprise with a number of deployment challenges. Android's development cycle has been extremely fast-paced. Like the rest of the Google Apps suite, and unlike the still unavailable Office365, Google releases new features into Android all the time.
Google's added some great Enterprise features to Android over the past year and, fittingly given the Gartner research, released additional features today.
- With the new version of the Google Apps Device Policy app, employees can quickly secure a lost or stolen Android 2.2+ device by locating it on a map, ringing the device, and resetting the device PIN or password remotely via the new My Devices website.
- Google Apps administrators have an option in the control panel to “Encrypt Data on Device”, which will now include requiring encrypted storage on Android 3.0 tablets. Devices will need version 2.0 of the Google Apps Device Policy app.
- A new corporate contacts app, Google Apps Lookup, makes it easier to find and contact people in your organization. Type (or speak) the name or email address of a coworker, and then tap to call, email, IM or send a text message. Lookup pulls information from the Google Apps directory, so admins need to enable “Shared Contacts” in the control panel before employees can use Lookup on their Android 2.1+ devices.
Other Android features for the Enterprise include:
- Remotely wipe all data from lost or stolen mobile devices
- Lock idle devices after a period of inactivity
- Require a device password on each phone
- Set minimum lengths for more secure passwords
- Require passwords to include letters and numbers
Should an employee leave, the Google Apps administrator can withdraw access to corporate info, which allows the employee to continue to use their device if appropriate. A one size fits all, command and control environment for mobile devices in the Enterprise is a thing of the past so Google Apps also provides secure management and sync capabilities for all major mobile platforms. You can manage most mobile devices right from the browser, without having to deploy dedicated servers, Blackberry style. More access, across more devices at less cost - that's the beauty of Cloud Computing.