Thursday, October 20, 2011

Google's New Android OS. What’s In It for the Enterprise?

Guest writer and mobility analyst Andre Guilleman shares his insights on Google's new Android OS version, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Google’s release of Android 4.0, dubbed “Ice Cream Sandwich,” is undoubtedly geared towards consumers but it’s got a few new features that were clearly designed for corporate IT. But what’s their strategy here?

Early on, BlackBerry cornered the enterprise market with unparalleled security features. Windows Mobile gained and then lost the field service sector by partnering with rugged device manufacturers. Then Apple forced its way into the enterprise from the top down, with a smartphone that was so slick that it was irresistible to top execs. Android, it seems, is riding the consumerization wave of personal phones being used for business-related tasks, with or without the blessing of IT administrators.

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google just made it a little bit easier for IT departments to say “yes” to their Android users. OS 4.0 includes:

  • A keychain API with encrypted storage so applications can utilize private keys, certificate chains, and user certificates
  • Address space layout randomization (ASLR) to secure device memory-management
  • A VPN API with secure credential storage to help lock down data transmissions
  • And for companies that need to keep top secret info locked down (and perhaps for our friends in HR), new device policy management controls that can remotely disable the camera

Although the new enhancements won’t send companies scrambling to replace their BlackBerrys with Droids, it’s all cool stuff that makes the Android OS more palatable for the enterprise.

About André Guillemin:  He has over ten years of experience in health care, financial services, and mobile technology. He spent the past three years focused on cross-industry solutions for mobile enterprise application development, including line of business uses in manufacturing, life sciences and wealth management. Mr. Guillemin frequently contributes to industry publications, panels, and events, and is available for consultation on the strategic and tactical use of mobile technologies in the enterprise.

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.