Tangoe, which makes software used by more than 400 companies around the world to manage expenses related to their mobile communication assets, on April 27 said its mobile device management software will now support smartphones based on Google's Android operating system.
Tangoe's MDM Version 5.0 client software, which IT administrators install on mobile devices, is now compatible with devices running Android 2.0 and higher. This includes such high-end Android smartphones as the Motorola Droid, Google Nexus One and HTC Incredible, which Verizon Wireless began selling April 29.
The Android "device client collects information regarding device hardware and installed applications" and sends smartphone voice, SMS (Short Message Service) and data usage information "to the MDM V5.0 server where it is monitored and managed in real time, based on the plan assigned to the specific smartphone user." The idea is to help IT administrators get a better handle on the expenses their corporate employees are racking up on their smartphones.
But that's just a smaller theme in a broader story. Tangoe, which already supports Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices, began supporting Android before its rival Apple iPhone smartphone platform.
Most companies support the iPhone, which has sold more than 50 million units and provides remote wipe, complex password protection and other security and manageability capabilities enterprises require. Indeed, Tangoe rivals such as BoxTone began supporting the iPhone in October 2009, adding Android support one month later.
Julie Palen, Tangoe's senior vice president of mobile device management, who spoke with eWEEK at RIM's Wireless Enterprise Symposium April 26, said Android's open architecture made it easier to support Android before the iPhone.
"The closed architecture makes it challenging for enterprises to manage the iPhone and for us to manage them the way we want to, whereas we can do whatever we wanted, so supporting Android was a much faster process," Palen said. "With all of the restrictions on the iPhone, I could build the client but it couldn't send the information I need to effectively manage it."
She also lamented that Tangoe won't be able to provide the same level of management detail for iPhones that it is providing for the BlackBerry and Android Windows Mobile platforms.
Even so, Tangoe plans to ship its MDM client for the iPhone in June, barring any delays from Apple's strict App Store.