Android Enterprise, a program by Google geared at availing the world’s most popular mobile platform for use in business environments, is what we previously referred to as Android for Work. It is, like both its previous and current names indicate, a solution meant for the workplace, businesses, small and big enterprises. Traditionally, whenever such establishments come up, the first name to spring to mind is, you guessed it right, BlackBerry.
Thankfully, it is 2018 and BlackBerry is pretty much part and parcel of the larger Android family right now. BlackBerry devices now run Android. However, just like the tide has changed over the years and BlackBerry is no longer a market leader in mobile, it is also no longer a market leader in enterprise. That honour currently belongs to Apple and its iPhone which has become, and I hate to admit this, the gold standard of the workplace. A lot of these developments have to do with iOS’ strong security and, of course, user preference for the easy-to-use iPhones and iOS. While Android is not any less secure than its bitter rival, it often gets a bad rap because of never-ending reports in the news media about various zero day vulnerabilities.
Android Enterprise is supposed to be easy to integrate with most mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobility management (EMM) systems that companies already use thereby making life easier for the chaps in any company’s IT department who have to deploy applications on devices and manage and secure them. This is done in two ways: by allowing users to bring their own preferred mobile devices to the work place and IT only being able to manage the specific work apps and data in use on the said mobile devices or a company, through its IT department, issuing mobile devices to its employees for use at the workplace and IT taking full charge of the said devices.
Whichever may be the case, going forward, Google will be more than happy to recommend several devices to businesses through its new Android Enterprise Recommended program.
According to Google, “Android Enterprise Recommended makes it simple for businesses to confidently select, deploy and manage Android devices and services that meet elevated enterprise requirements validated by Google.”
“Android Enterprise Recommended simplifies the selection process so you can start your search with a shortlist of approved devices and services. Select from a curated list of verified devices and services that meet elevated enterprise requirements from partners trained and supported by Google.”
The list of recommended devices (see below) includes the who’s who of the Android device-making world save for one big omission: Samsung.
Samsung’s absence is confounding because the Korean company has, in the last few years, been the most visible advocate of building into its devices features that make them easy and more suited for enterprise environments. Samsung has been at it way before Android for Work/Android Enterprise showed up. In fact, Android Enterprise exists today because of the work that Samsung was able to do when it was brought onboard by Google as a partner thanks to its experience with Knox and its SEAP (Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program). Samsung’s latest and greatest, the Galaxy Note 8, is part of the lineup that the company has for long paraded as being primarily targeted at the “business user”, something that others like Huawei seem to have been taking note of since the Chinese company’s own Mate series of devices has, over the last 3 years, been paraded as a “business-first” smartphone during its local (Kenya) launches.
According to ZDNet, Samsung was pretty much involved in the process leading up to the announcement of the devices below and was even invited to be a launch partner. Is Samsung staying away from the party because it wants to push Knox at its own pace? This wouldn’t be surprising seeing as it is that the company has so far managed to stay clear of Google’s platform for wearables, Android Wear, in favour of its own, Tizen. Is it because it would struggle meeting the program’s requirement that devices selected be able to receive security updates within at least 3 months (Samsung has a terrible track record when it comes to updates)?
These are the devices that Google recommends for the workplace:
- BlackBerry KEYone and Motion
- Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL
- Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite, and P smart
- LG V30 and G6
- Motorola X4 and Z2
- Nokia 8