We have been working on this for a year now and are eager to take the wraps off. The latest Android enterprise features have been released and are available on appaloosa.io. They will help enterprise customers deploying apps to employees, simpler and safer than ever before.
Why did we do this?
When we started venturing into enterprise mobility in 2014, the Android platform was quite a challenge for companies. In particular, the fact that they had to ask their users to activate “unknown sources” in order to sideload enterprise apps was quite a challenging idea. For us, it involved adding more user steps to our app store enrollment. To be clear, there was no way you could deploy apps privately on all platforms without using Google Play’s services. We needed something smooth and safe for both sides: IT and employees.
Furthermore, an installed application is only part of the story. How to push updates? How to wipe? — are frequent questions from enterprise customers. And for some, pushing a simple notification was not enough. Indeed, their requirements included a silent install, update or wipe for some or all their users.
Why didn’t we deliver it earlier?
You will definitely find several, if not dozens of software providers who were already providing some of the feature set mentioned above. But there are two reasons why we didn’t just do the same:
- It required asking the user for admin rights over the full device. Our mission is to enable employees and companies with software which strikes the right balance between IT control and employee privacy. Today, there are many personal things that one does with a smartphone, wether it is corporate issued or not. There is no reason asking for full control over the user’s device, only because there is a portion that is used for professional purposes.
- It required vendor lock-in or several implementations. While Android was lagging behind iOS in regard to the scope of available MDM APIs, others such as Samsung, Sony or LG were developing their own MDM commands into their Android flavor. It required us to write and maintain code for all sub-platforms. We’ve rarely seen every employee in a given company with the same, exact phone brand and version. Let’s not even talk about OS version fragmentation.
There comes built-in, native Android support
When we started conversing with Google two years ago, we foolishly asked them to grant us the same rights as Google Play on an Android device. After they kindly reset our expectations, they detailed their Android for Work program.
Put briefly, Android for Work enables to activate every user in the enterprise, regardless of his phone brand or version. As a consequence for enterprise app makers: involve every user to the business bottom-line.
Android for Work enables your employees to install the corporate apps they want in a separated container, away from their personal apps. While the experience mixes both personal and corporate apps on their device as usual, personal and corporate data never mix. There’s a strict separation of environments on the same phone.
Last, but not least, thanks to the frequent Google Play Services updates, these new Android features are not limited to new Android version. In fact, there are available for any Android device running at least Android 4.2 (ICS), which has been released almost 5 years ago.
Are you deploying apps to Android in a business context? Let’s get in touch on appaloosa.io.