Other Impediments

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2012-03-13 Print this article Print


There are other issues impeding Android's enterprise march. Current Analysis analyst Andrew Braunberg said that while one code train is better for security and management overall, Google doesn't seem able to persuade OEMs to push OS updates on Android devices. Google was supposed to launch an Android Update Alliance last year to promote unified update cycles across OEMs and carriers in 18-month cycles, but the group stalled for reasons Google declined to specify.

"This is the bigger issue to me in regard to Android fragmentation going forward, and [it€™s] a key point of differentiation for Apple," Braunberg said, adding that when iOS gets an upgrade, all existing devices are upgraded posthaste.

To that end, Mark Kadrich, principal enterprise security architect for Kaiser Permanente, scoffs at the suggestion that Android, even with ICS, is business-ready.

"Until 4.0 proves itself in some pilots, I think it's a bit premature to be deciding if they should support the entire platform," Kadrich told eWEEK. "Android is cool, but it presents some significant security issues [and requires] enterprise-grade support tools. Lots of people writing apps will force enterprises into the business of app store support.

"Plus, I think it's going to add significant cost to the platform. ... Add to that the additional cost in people, and it looks like another cost center. If an IT manager is planning on supporting Android, I recommend he or she invest in some Ambien CR. They're going to need it."

However, industry analyst Jack Gold said MDM software makers such as 3LM, which manages Android at the kernel level, and Enterproid, which splits users' personal and professional identities on one Android device, are making the platform more business-friendly and secure. He expects Google will add enterprise-class security to Android over the next one to two years, especially once the company closes its deal for Motorola Mobility.

Consummation of that $12.5 billion acquisition could come any day now, since it's received regulatory approval from the Justice Department and European Commission.

Christy Wyatt, senior vice president and general manager of Motorola Mobility's enterprise business, is excited about the possibilities€”both for the combined company and particularly for 3LM, the MDM software assets Motorola acquired last year. Wyatt said she has tested ICS on a Motorola smartphone and enjoyed the experience.

She's particularly pleased with how Smart Actions, the company's phone management application, runs on Android handsets. Corporate workers can use the application to set rules such as muting the phone's ringer when they enter the office or dialing down power consumption to get users through a whole workday on a single battery charge.

Wyatt also is a big believer in the company's smartphone/lapdock combination, which lets users dock their Android handsets with a keyboard and monitor. The phone, which powers the peripherals, launches a Mozilla Firefox browser to let users type and work in a laptoplike experience.

Her mandate for her team is simple: "I never want an IT manager saying employees can't bring their Motorola device to work. We want to be the most broadly supported Android device platform at work. And [employees] must know they can rely on it."

It will be up to Google, with Motorola in hand, to usher Android deeper into the enterprise market.  


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