Google wants Android to play a bigger role in the enterprise, and it’s forging ahead with a new Android for Work program that brings together an ecosystem of partners to provide tools and services to better integrate devices running its mobile operating system.
It’s a strike against the dominance of Microsoft and other major players in the workplace. In particular, the Android at Work program could impact the ambitions of both Apple and Microsoft, which are both trying to position themselves as the right choice for companies looking to roll out mobile devices to their users.
The Android for Work initiative, announced today, includes new software tools to make Android play nice with corporate environments. IT departments can use a feature built in to Android 5.0 “Lollipop” to build a specific work profile for a device running on Google’s mobile operating system that will allow system administrators to control apps that they deploy, along with the data within those apps.
Users can also have a personal profile so that their private data can stay theirs, while the IT department is able to keep corporate data secure.
Devices that won’t be receiving the Lollipop update can use a new Android for Work app to securely deliver work email to apps on the smartphone or tablet. Like the profiles in Lollipop, the Android for Work app can be fully managed by an IT department to control access to work data.
In addition, there’s a new Google Play for Work service that allows businesses to deliver approved apps across all of their devices and keep them up to date.
Google has partnered with a number of other companies to support the new program, including SAP, Salesforce, Adobe, F5 and HTC.