Google announced Android for Work in February. The basic pitch is that it makes Android devices more appealing to enterprise users, many of whom have moved from BlackBerries to iPhones. It handles productivity and business apps, while also segregating work from personal data in a way that makes sense for companies and their employees.
Android for Work is aimed solely at devices running Android versions 4.4 KitKat and lower -- it doesn't support Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Moreover, Android for Work must be enabled and administered through an enterprise mobility management solution. Google's MDM launch partners include AirWatch, BlackBerry, Citrix, Google Apps for Work, MaaS 360 (IBM), Mobile Iron, SAP, and Soti. Without these, Android for Work won't work.
The solution has four key features: Work Profiles, Android for Work app, Google Play for Work, and Productivity Apps.
The Work Profiles feature sandboxes corporate information and creates a wholly separate space in which employees work. At the same time, it allows people to use their personal apps, and gives them the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their employer can't view or erase their content.
The Android for Work app delivers secure email, calendar, contacts, documents, and browsing. It serves as the gateway through which IT approves work-related activity. It's best to think of Google Play for Work as an app store for enterprise apps. Companies can deploy and manage apps through Google Play for Work securely, and can approve only select apps.
Last, Google's productivity apps are on board, including Docs, Sheets, and Presentations, in addition to support for Exchange.
"With full policy enforcement, control over app distribution, and remote wiping of all business data, IT admins can manage the Android for Work app through partner management solutions," according to Google.
Google recently updated its productivity apps across the board for Android and iOS devices.
Google Drive's latest feature lets people share photos right from the notification panel.
With Android for Work and an updated productivity suite available, it's time to get to work with your Android device.
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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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The Next Generation of IT SupportThe workforce is changing as businesses become global and technology erodes geographical and physical barriers.IT organizations are critical to enabling this transition and can utilize next-generation tools and strategies to provide world-class support regardless of location, platform or device