informa
/
Commentary

Google's Android: What Does it Mean to IT?

Google's non-release of a phone, but rather of the promise of open software standards for mobile phones can either have IT managers quaking in their sneakers or dismissing the whole thing as a consumer device. Which is it?
Google's non-release of a phone, but rather of the promise of open software standards for mobile phones can either have IT managers quaking in their sneakers or dismissing the whole thing as a consumer device. Which is it?Wall Street Journal blogger Ben Worthen calls the Google phone a "business tech nightmare waiting to happen."

"If Google succeeds, it will set off a battle inside companies between the people who provide technology and the people who use it," he writes.

The problem, as he sees it, is if Google succeeds there will be "really cool" software for phones. "Most of it will be targeted to consumers  things like social-networking or online-shopping software. But its a good bet there will be some software that workers can use to make themselves more productive. Naturally, people will want to use this software  not using it will be like trying to do business without a PC, theyll say."

But the open source nature of this software makes it risky for businesses that aren't prepared with security software for phones.

But InformationWeek's Eric Zeman states that "Google's Android platform is not for the enterprise."

Regarding the announcement of Android, Zeman writes: "One thing is for certain, [the Android mobile platform] is no enterprise play." He adds that in the conference call about Android, one word was mentioned again and again. "And that word was consumer. Android will be a platform to help get mobile applications and services onto the handset - services and applications most often used by consumers. Not enterprise types."

InformationWeek's Stephen Wellman spoke with Maribel Lopez, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research about what Google's Android means for IT.

She said: "Android appears to be positioned at the consumer market. It does little to help enterprises with their main issues of mobile device management and security. However, the low cost and open development nature of the platform provides the opportunity for cheaper smart phones and a more robust application development environment. Enterprises would like to see large applications vendors build to Android before they sign up for the platform and they also want to ensure the platform is secure before they move critical data to these devices."

IT managers have some time before they have to contend with an open source cellphone but if Google does what it says it will do, it seems inevitable that its phone concept will capture the fancy of consumer and corporate users. Remember that other cool phone?