In July 2014 Apple and IBM forged a new exclusive global enterprise centric alliance. The goal of the landmark partnership is to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change. The official IBM MobileFirst Website launched on schedule in November starting with apps target specifically for healthcare, banking, travel, telecommunications, insurance and more. In December IBM's first wave of MobileFirst iOS solutions began to roll out to market. During Apple's Financial Conference Call held in January, Apple's CEO noted that the alliance is on track to have over 100 apps by year end. Over 130 major companies are expected to adopt the MobileFirst system using iDevices this year alone. Apple led the way in creating a modern union between IBM enterprise class mobile apps with leading Apple mobile iDevices and we knew it was only a matter of time before we'd hear about the cloners.
In November BlackBerry and Samsung announced that they had formed an alliance to challenge Apple-IBM, but that seemed to have been a stepping stone to today's announcement from Google about a new enterprise initiative called "Android for Work" that includes BlackBerry, Samsung and host of players that we'll present to you later in our report.
Google stated in a press release that over a billion people today carry Android smartphones—devices that are more powerful than the computers we used just a few years ago.
For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals. But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped.
Google's new Android for Work program is to tap into that potential. With a group of partners, we're helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform. Android for work is made up of four key technology components:
Work profiles – We've built on the default encryption, enhanced SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support in Android 5.0, Lollipop to create a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data. IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users' personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured. People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won't erase or view their personal content.
Android for Work app – For devices running Ice Cream Sandwich through Kitkat, or that don't run work profiles natively, we've created the Android for Work app. The app, which delivers secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps, can be completely managed by IT.
Google Play for Work – It allows businesses to securely deploy and manage apps across all users running Android for Work, simplifying the process of distributing apps to employees and ensures that IT approves every deployed app.
Built-in productivity tools – For everyday business tasks, we've created a suite of business apps for email, contacts and calendar, which supports both Exchange and Notes and provides document editing capabilities for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Google is joined by a number of partners as part of the Android for Work program, including many familiar names within the Android ecosystem:
Google's Partners Bring IT
Consistent Management: Enterprise mobility management (EMM) providers integrate with standardized management APIs to create a simple way to manage all Android devices, new and old, from one dashboard. All Android for Work capabilities are delivered through EMM partners, with more providers available soon.
Secure Business Apps: Software vendors and developers can create a single version of any Google Play app that can be securely deployed to any Android device without alterations or wrapping. And they can create standard management configurations that allow IT to apply policies per app.
Innovative Devices: Android smartphone and tablet makers are a key part of the Android for Work program, as they create devices and experiences that add additional value for customers.
Together with a wide range of management, application and device makers, we believe the Android for Work program provides businesses and workers with the choice and flexibility they need to get things done at work.
For those who live in a mixed platform workplace or just want to know what the competition is up to, visit Google's new Android for Work website to learn more about this new work program. .