Google is dressing up its little green robot with a freshly pressed suit and briefcase.
The company is trying to entice users for its Android for Work initiative with an interesting offer: a Nexus 5X smartphone to the first 3,000 businesses that deploy enterprise mobility management (EMM) services and integrate Android for Work features.
The new initiative kicked off yesterday during a livestream with Android for Work executives and current enterprise partners.
From 'Mobile First' to 'Mobile Only'
Android for Work Product Management Director Andrew Toy said during the event that Android was the operating system best positioned for the changing world of computing. He argued that the popular "mobile first" refrain was already outdated with the rapid move of technology.
"Mobile first implies that there is something else there," he said. "Mobile only is what we think the world is going towards."
He argued that most individuals and businesses interact with multiple "glowing rectangles throughout their day," be they desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, watches or dedicated COSU (corporate owned single use) device like a tablet that's pinned to a specific application.
Because Android can be used in such form factors, it could serve companies in many different form factors, beyond just use as one’s smartphone. Companies that sign up with Android for Work get a controlled set of tools to manage company data and applications, which are separated out from one's personal apps and services.
It's a response to the popular BYOD trend (bring your own device), where companies are less willing to purchase smartphones for their employees, since they likely have one anyway.
Focus on Security
Google is also playing up the security angle with its Android for Work program with good reason: Android has been fraught with security issues, most notably the Stagefright vulnerability.
To ease any concerns, Google and hardware partners are pledging monthly updates to their devices. The most recent entrant is the BlackBerry Priv, the first smartphone from the Waterloo, Ontario-based company to run Android. Google’s own Nexus devices and others from Samsung and security-focused Silent Circle also promise such regular updates.
There is no fee to try out Android for Work, however a company needs to have an existing EMM solution. Google offers a list of supported partners for those who have yet to take this step.
Along with these new moves, Toy also touted the new security features in Android Marshmallow, such as better notifications when you’re using work apps, improved enterprise contacts, and additional VPN tools. In a release, Google says that it has 19,000 businesses using Android for Work.