The Android platform continues to thrive with over 1 million activations per day, making it the most popular mobile OS in the world. There are certain markets the little green robot is not reaching quite yet, though. Enterprise users still put their trust in other platforms, mainly BlackBerry. Android is great for the general consumer and entertainment, but it is not the best option for companies and corporations – something Google is hoping to change very soon.
We uncovered a recent Google trademark filing for the phrase “Play Means Business,” a trademark that we were hoping to be related to a better enterprise solution. This ended up being nothing but an advertising stunt for YouTube, but the idea made us consider the fact that the topic deserves attention.
There have been rumors of RIM potentially licensing its software, such options seem to have been turned down after Thorsten Heins took the CEO chair at RIM’s HQ. Android manufacturers are also making an effort by releasing their own enterprise solutions, Samsung being one of the most notable. What Android needs is a solid and universal solution, though. Not one that is limited by brands and exclusivity, but a service that would be embedded into Android’s core.
Bringing the next best solution for Enterprise isn’t an easy feat to accomplish. RIM built its reputation over many years of work, focusing mainly on BlackBerry’s potential in the business department, something Google and its competitors have found difficult to counter. What will it take for our little green robot to look its best wearing a business suit?
Better Software Security
Due to its popularity, Android is the most targeted mobile platform. Malware and virus developers love having that large amount of potential targets. Most would argue that Android is safe for smartphone users exhibiting caution, but businesses don’t want a single mistake. Especially when delicate information is at hand.
With that said, Android has been known to have its security faults. This has been greatly improved, especially since the inclusion of Bouncer. But there are still some kinks to get worked out.
There is much more to security aside from encryption, passwords, and PIN numbers. Google would need to add (or remove) some features embedded in Android’s core. For example, a company would probably not want give its workers the ability to side-load apps. Another discrepancy would be the fact that one can root a device, endangering it even more. Unfortunately, a knowledgeable user can always root a device, but a notification system for tampered devices could offset this fear.
Enterprise customers would also need to keep their devices much more secured. A good password or PIN for unlocking the device and accessing certain apps is necessary.
Given the fact that Android’s “openness” makes it a potentially dangerous software, encryption is a must for Enterprise customers. This would give Android a second security wall protecting information from intruders.
Google hasn’t worked too much on this just yet but recent acquisitions prove that the company is headed in the right direction. Two years ago, Google purchased Widevine, a company dedicated to media encryption. Just a few short days ago, we uncovered that Google filed a trademark for the WideVine brand name, illustrating continued dedication to integrate Widevine’s assets.
All signs point to this being an effort to protect multimedia (movies, music and other Google Play products). But it seems like future Google Enterprise projects could also benefit from this new acquisition.
Better Hardware Protection
Software security is important, but protecting the physical device is optimal for a company’s security. It is a fact that users are much more affected by lost devices than by hacker infiltration. Those that have experienced losing a smartphone can attest to the fact that it is one of the most stressful situations one can be under. This pain would be greatly multiplied if not only was your information at risk, but your job’s as well.
As of now, there is no official way to protect Android devices against theft and loss. One needs to rely on third-party apps like Lookout, Avast and Find My Phone. While these can be very reliable, it would bring more comfort to enterprise users if it came handcuffed to the device itself.
The ability to lock a BlackBerry remotely has been one of the most enticing features for Enterprise security. If a device is lost, the company can easily block the the smartphone and secure its information. It would take a good amount of work from Google to replicate this, but such features could determine the outcome and success of the project.
Enterprise-friendly Support from the Google Play Store
With such a large portfolio of apps and content in the Play Store, there is no doubt there are some great tools enterprise users have not taken advantage of yet. Could Google be preparing branded versions of the store for business users? Or maybe a special section for secure, enterprise-ready apps and services?
In order to simplify the businessman’s experience, Google could offer a featured page for companies, much like they do for carriers. For example, Verizon users have a section in the Play Store that lists Big Red’s recommended apps. Other manufacturers have also taken advantage of this in the past. Much like this, Google can offer a portal in the Google Play Store that would display an array of company-curated applications that would be necessary for carrying out the worker’s responsibilities.
Google could also allow apps to be mass-purchased by the company. As of now, multiple users need separate payment methods for purchasing applications. In a better world, those that enter the Google Play Store under a company-approved e-mail would be able to purchase certain apps under a set company’s credit card. This would be able to be managed remotely by administrators, and it could be limited as seen fit.
What else can you think of?
Of course, there is a world of enterprise communications options. Most of which many of us have never experienced. We could add push notification for chat messages, read/unread messages (like BBM), document sharing/collaborating and more. The list could go on forever, but we would like to know what you think Google could do to beat competitors like RIM in supporting businesses with an enterprise focused experience.
Would you like to see any other features/modifications in Play Means Business? Let us know in the comments!