Brown’s Bytes – At Last. The Gathering…

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

11th May 2018

This week I was kindly invited by Google to attend their Android Enterprise Summit in London.

It was an excellent couple of days and gave me a lot of food for thought for this week’s Byte.

Android has come a long way since the early days, but in particular for the Enterprise it really did need to. Generally, Enterprises have said no to Android a lot of the time based on several perceived issues:

  1. The OS is insecure as it is based on Open Source it is too easy to attack/root.
  2. Patching is always a problem – I’ve written a number of Bytes about this in the past.
  3. Fragmentation in the Android market makes it hard to manage and support consistently (and further exacerbates patching issues).
  4. The Play store is the “Wild West” compared to Apple’s App Store.

Often this has resulted in an easy win for Apple in the Enterprise. In theory Android should give Enterprises more of the controls they require, but Apple’s one size, take it or leave it approach has got more traction.

Google have clearly been listening to this and over time Android has come on significantly in many areas.

However, what’s interesting about this list of issues is that Google were not directly to blame a lot of the time! Google regularly update Android – it is the handset manufacturers and carriers that slow down the release cycle.

Same with fragmentation in the OS – Google provide a vanilla version of Android… and then Handset manufacturers change/bundle/remove things to make it their own (which also slows down updates).

Enter Android Enterprise Recommended

Google have been really smart with this program. Its goals are clearly to address a lot of the Enterprise concerns by unifying the user and admin experience, giving Enterprises the controls they want and also making sure that the handset manufacturers play ball (in particular on patching).

In a single sweep, it really does resolve the issues that have been holding Android back in the Enterprise. I genuinely think they’ve nailed it.

In effect Google have organised “The Gathering” of the handset manufacturers for Enterprise. Looking at the list of handsets is interesting – BlackBerry (which I’ve been impressed by recently), Google Pixel, Nokia, Huawei, LG, Motorola and Sony are all on board.

So, will it work?

It deserves to (it really does), but there is a small elephant (not) in the room:

Where is Samsung??

Samsung devices are not on board… that’s a very big chunk of the Android Handset market missing.

I guess that, as Samsung have been doing their own thing with Knox for years now, I can see why they’d be reticent to join this Google party (there are a lot of potential overlaps between Knox and Android Enterprise).

But without Samsung, does Google have an issue with how much traction Android Enterprise Recommended can gain in the market?

Maybe it doesn’t matter. As stated last week, BlackBerry have some great Android Enterprise Recommended devices available that are built with business in mind. Maybe the lack of a Samsung badge on the device isn’t an issue…

Let’s see!

If you’d like to know more on how Android Enterprise can be made to work in your business, then please do get in touch.