With 2.2 release, Android for the enterprise deserves a second look
Computerworld - Just last year, with the arrival of Google's Android 2.0 mobile operating system, I warned that Android devices were not quite ready for the enterprise. But the mobile world moves at an astonishing rate. Since I issued that warning, Google has released two updates to Android, 2.1 and 2.2 (also known as Éclair and FroYo).
Although these are dot releases, they are significant enough to warrant another look. I still have my prior reservations about Android 2.1, but 2.2 has been updated significantly and is now acceptable for some businesses to deploy. The catch is that 2.2 is still not widely available on devices except for Google's own Nexus One.
Here's a rundown on how Android 2.2 is playing more nicely in the corporate sandbox:
Exchange support -- Unsurprisingly, Android has always offered superb integration with Google apps and services, but Exchange support was a poor stepchild before 2.2. Users looking to connect Android devices to Exchange servers needed to use a phone with a custom version of Android such as HTCs Sense UI or use a third-party application. With its 2.2 FroYo release, Google is finally offering Exchange support that's good enough. Mail, Calendars and Contacts all sync. FroYo also supports a full corporate directory with search. While it's not best of breed, it is acceptable for most business use.
Security -- Security in Android 2.2 takes a big leap forward. Users are no longer limited to Google's pattern drawing screen and can use full alphanumeric passwords. In addition, 2.2 allows IT departments to remotely control passwords and wipe devices clean through an Exchange server. These are both important steps for Enterprise adoption. Still missing is onboard encryption for removable media cards, which means Android will still come up short for some enterprises.
Remote management and configuration -- Remote wiping isn't all that IT folks look for, though. There's also remote tracking and the ability to remotely manage standard application load sets for mobile devices. Android is still lacking in these areas.
A lot of end users are finding Android devices such as the HTC Incredible and EVO 4G captivating, but the only device out there right now that's running 2.2 is the Nexus One. IT departments need to get the word out to users that their Android devices won't be considered for enterprise support until they are upgraded to 2.2. Unfortunately, for most devices, that won't happen until much later this year.
To make matters more complicated, Google promises at least one more operating system release (known as Gingerbread) before the end of the year. There are likely to be further enterprise enhancements in that release. Another re-evaluation may be warranted then.
More by Michael Gartenberg
- Review: Surface goes from amateur to Pro
- Review: RIM tries to get back in the game with sleek and fast Z10 BlackBerry
- Michael Gartenberg: Looking beneath the Surface
- Windows 8 has a great story. Can Microsoft tell it?
- Michael Gartenberg: With Mountain Lion, Macs, iPhones and iPads can all get along
- Michael Gartenberg: Google polishes Chrome OS
- Michael Gartenberg: Today, a device's ecosystem trumps feeds and speeds
- Michael Gartenberg: Samsung rethinks the pen
- Michael Gartenberg: 5 things I really like and dislike about Android
- iPhone 4S and iOS 5 raise the smartphone IQ once again
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts