I love the cloud, but it sure is hard to know what's going to happen to your data once it's fed into some Internet repository. Rosenthal explained:
"The G1 has some compelling ideas in it. It has a nice interface. Certainly the open-source nature is interesting. The challenge for enterprises is that it's not even vaguely enterprise-ready. In fact, it's, I would say, enterprise-frustrating at this point. Certainly the Exchange constraint is a big one. It's just so steeped in the world of connecting to the cloud, which is compelling for a consumer but not at all compelling for an enterprise. An enterprise needs to control or disseminate its proprietary information to its employees and there's not an mechanism for that to happen in the cloud."
I reminded Rosenthal that a lot of people said the iPhone was not acceptable for enterprise use early on. He said the iPhone went nowhere until Apple released Exchange support, which included a basic level of security through the device management capability of Exchange 2007.
Of course, Rosenthal said the iPhone is still lacking enterprise juice in the areas of security, management, application integration and application distribution.
Now the G1 finds itself in the same boat, requiring not only Exchange integration but some degree of device management, which would allow a lost device to be wiped, as well as ways to control what is and isn't put on the device. Rosenthal added:
"Google's strength is not really in enterprise-specific tools. It's not clear whether that will ever emerge from Google. It certainly may emerge from people who take the open-source [Android platform] and build on top of it. No one will say the cloud is the most secure environment."
One company that might help with securing Android devices is Mocana, which Oct. 22 unveiled its NanoPhone Suite for Android, which lets developers build firewall, VPN and encryption features for Android handsets. But Mocana is not enough.
Rosenthal said the ideal scenario for the G1 would be a range of integration that involves applications and connection to back-end enterprise systems.
Wanted: Programmers who can and will build enterprise apps to help push Android at the forefront of enterprise mobility with Research In Motion's operating system, Windows Mobile and Symbian.
Until then, the G1 might as well be labeled "for consumers only." If developers don't step up to the plate, Android will get the same label.