Google's newly released Android 9 Pie mobile operating system comes with several productivity, security and manageability features that the company says have been specifically designed with enterprise users in mind.
Like many of Google's recent products, some of the features in Android 9 Pie are powered by artificial intelligence and are designed to learn from and adapt to an individual's usage patterns according to the company.
Android 9 is currently available with Google's own Pixel phones and will become available on devices from other manufacturers starting this fall.
One of the new AI-powered features in the latest version of Android is called App Actions. The feature suggests actions that a user might want to take depending on the context. For example, an employee using their Android device at work might receive a suggestion to share a Google Drive folder said James Nugent, Google product manager in a blog August 6. The feature is designed to anticipate a user's intent and act on it before the user actually needs it.
As the phone learns a user's usage patterns it will start prompting specific actions for both work-related applications as well as personal apps on the device. "It’s one more way that Android works behind the scenes to make the phone more responsive to individual needs," Nugent said.
Android 9 is designed to take better advantage of the hardware-level security enhancements—such as strong encryption and tamper resistant modules—that are becoming available on modern smartphones and tablets.
Among other things it allows administrators to require different PINs for accessing work and personal profiles on the device and to implement policies for preventing data sharing between work and personal apps, Nugent noted.
Work apps have a separate tab in the All Apps menu in Android 9. The goal is to give enterprises a way to keep work and personal apps distinctly separate on an Android device. At the same time, a new in-app switching feature it easier for users to switch between applications that they might use for both business and personal reasons.
Users also have the ability to turn off work applications and work-related notifications on their phone via a new toggle feature in Android 9. The toggle adds to an expanding collection of 'digital well-being' tools that Google is making available to Android users so they can better understand their tech usage habits—such as how much time they might be spending on work related apps, social media and YouTube.
Android users can use the tools to manage how many notifications they get, to set alerts and reminders for breaks and to turn off apps during scheduled periods.
Android 9 also makes it easier for administrators to manage single-use Android devices, which are basically smartphones and tablets dedicated to a single purpose or application, such as a ruggedized tablet for field service systems, or a point-of-sale terminal.
With such devices, device administrators will now have the ability to show or hide the status bar, navigation buttons and other elements of the user-interface, Nugent said.
They can also set up custom-home screens and populate the screen with apps that would make it easier for the device user to switch between functions—such as a restaurant worker taking an order and then using a different app on the same device to process payment.