Enterproid is the latest to crack the mobile device management market, focusing first on Android with its Divide platform. Support for Apple iOS and Windows Phone is coming later.
Even though its U.S.
smartphone market share is shriveling
, Research In Motion still commands the bulk of the
enterprise mobile handset market.
The problem is that while RIM has spent a decade grooming corporations to
get BlackBerrys into the hands of corporate road warriors, Apple iPhone and
Google Android handsets are popping up like mushrooms all over the workforce.
This consumerization of IT has increased the need for companies to address
age-old security concerns that RIM had mitigated with its BlackBerry Enterprise
Server and other tools for locking down enterprise data.
While the pressing need to secure iPhone and Android gadgets, including
tablets, is boosting the market for Sybase, Good Technology and Zenprise, it's
also opening the door for new entrants.
Enter Enterproid, whose value proposition
is letting users create and keep
personal and professional profiles on one smartphone or tablet.
The startup launched its Divide IT mobile management platform, which
includes business-oriented e-mail, calendar, browser, SMS and task manager to
support Android gadgets, but will expand to iOS and Microsoft Windows Phone
platforms in the future.
Of course, splitting work and personal profiles on one smartphone has been
done before, industry analyst Jack Gold told eWEEK.
"This is really the 'Holy Grail' of user-liable devices in the
enterprise-making a 'lock box' for enterprise data on the device. Others have
done similar things [e.g., Sybase, TrustDigital and Good] by building a unique
and independent corporate suite that resides in a 'sandboxed'
environment," Gold said.
Enterproid said that instead of providing simply a virtualized software
tool, it has built Divide to function at the application layer.
"We've done this because, in our tests, virtualization (and by this we
mean splitting the kernel and running two versions of the OS side by side) is
incredibly resource-intensive (especially when it comes to things like battery
drain) and introduces issues when it comes to handling things like incoming
calls (in which case you'd have two OSes fighting over who answers the
call)," the company told eWEEK.
Companies and individuals download Divide to any Android 2.2 or greater
device to begin using the platform in minutes. Building Divide at the app layer
afforded Enterproid flexibility it wouldn't have by securing partnerships with
device makers, such as Apple.
IT managers can enforce policies and manage encryption, device location and
remote wipe, while end users can manage apps and settings, as well as device
location and remote wipe. Finally, Divide is managed in the cloud, so that
businesses needn't purchase new servers to run the platform.
Ultimately, Gold said what is really needed to lock up devices that workers
use for business is a virtualized platform that has stove-piped implementations
for the enterprise and personal side. He noted that OK Labs, which produces a
virtual machine capability for various devices, is what's needed.
OK Labs, Sybase, Good, Zenprise and dozens more dot the mobile enterprise
Will Enterproid thrive in a crowded market? It's way too early to say,
though the company did win a sort of best-in-show prize at Demo 2011 Feb. 28,
taking home $150,000 in Qualcomm Ventures' QPrize venture investment competition.
The key will be landing big contracts.