Android L

Android L Keeps Business and Home Separate

Android L Keeps Business and Home Separate 150 150 Kerry Butters

When Android L arrives later this year, it may put an end to the days of carrying separate devices for work and leisure. The mobile platform now boasts the ability to separate data on a single handset or tablet.

How It’s Been Done, So Far:

Historically, there’ve been five ways to access your business and personal accounts without having to carry two phones:

1. Virtual Machines

Created by software your employer installs on your personal phone. Mobile Device Management (MDM) software like Microsoft’s System Centre can control settings on your phone, making sure your security set-up is safe for work.

Virtual machine software like VMware’s MVP permits a phone to maintain a separate business environment with its own apps and settings, distinct from personal data. A phone within a phone.

2. Remote Desktops

Similar to a virtual machine, there are apps (e.g. LogMeIn Ignition on Android) that let a smartphone have access to a Mac or PC. You can see and control programs running on the faraway computer.

3. Proxy Accounts

With forwarding and filters, you can automatically forward messages from your work email to a specific folder or label in your personal account.

This can also be done on calendars, and even with Google Voice to forward calls from one of your phone numbers to another.

4. Multiple Accounts

Android phones don’t provide multiple profiles, but they do allow syncing with multiple Google accounts. The Calendar app uses this to display multiple calendars, on the same screen. Gmail does something similar, but keeps data from accounts separate, allowing you to switch between them.

5. Multiple Apps

This is common for email, where you might use Gmail or Yahoo mobile apps for personal mail, and an Email app employing Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for access to your company’s Exchange server.

Google: Recent Developments

At Google I/O 2014, a new initiative was unveiled, intended to help enterprise and corporate customers deploy devices to employees with minimum hassle:

·   Dubbed Android for Work, there’s an update to Android L, allowing a more seamless user experience for home and work applications. A separate app is planned to provide similar functionality on older devices.

·   For developers, a set of new APIs will require no modification to existing apps, work with bulk deployments, and take advantage of Samsung’s KNOX platform to maintain full security for sensitive corporate data.

·   Google Drive is being augmented with Drive for Work, an unlimited storage option featuring encrypted data priced at $10 (about UK£6, AU$11) per user per month.

·   Native editing support has been introduced for Microsoft Office, meaning no more format conversion when going from Word to Docs.

The Android Way

Android Work is founded on KNOX, which includes a robust set of enterprise features, with powerful tools for separating personal and business content on a device and for securing business apps and content.

There are other key components, which Google hinted at, but didn’t provided full details for:

1. Seamless transition between personal and work data

The Android Work container will encrypt and secure business data and restrict what users can do with it, but won’t appear as a separate workspace. Apps will have an Android Work badge added any time a user encounters them (on a home screen, in a list of notifications, etc.). This tagging will make it very clear which apps are business and which are personal.

2. Deployment, updating, and management of apps

Google is developing its own volume distribution mechanism. Organisations can make bulk purchases through Google Play, and roll out enterprise apps developed for internal use. IT will be able to push updates to ensure everyone is working with the most recent version.

3. Device Policy Client and profiles

The new Device Policy Client (DPC) app is employed to create work profiles that can be managed by IT. A profile is used to establish the container on an Android device. On personal devices, a work profile can only be created after a user has been authenticated using enterprise credentials provided by IT.

4. Certification

Google will run an Android Work certification programme, which already has the support of major manufacturers. Rather than suggesting specific devices, IT leaders can make a blanket statement that any device bearing the certification name or logo will be supported.

This also gives users with older devices an opportunity to upgrade, with or without a company subsidising the cost of newer devices.

5. Kill switch

Android L will be the first version to support Factory Reset Protection – a kill switch that prevents lost or stolen devices from being used.

Work, for You?

Android Work addresses some core concerns of enterprise IT, like separation of business and personal content, mass deployment of mobile apps, a single set of EMM policies across Android L devices, and policy models appropriate to BYOD and corporate-owned devices.

Questions remain, about devices that people already own. We don’t know which Android devices will be able to update, and when this might occur. Google has indicated that some Android Work capabilities may be available to devices running older versions of Android, but the company hasn’t provided any details.

For organisations that haven’t gone Android yet, it may be better to wait until Android L devices become more widespread.

Google I/O Roundup: What you Need to Know

Google I/O Roundup: What you Need to Know 150 150 Kerry Butters

Google I/O is the company’s annual developer conference and much like the Apple equivalent it offers a number of new tools and approaches. The main news out of the tech gathering is the fact that the Android OS will feature heavily in the company’s future.

The I/O conference is a three-hour-long keynote presentation that’s held in San Francisco, with Google executives and engineers showing off a number of new products. The aim it seems was to add better tech functionality to everyday tasks and users lives. Android powered devices are destined for cars, living rooms, and wrists – wearable tech will be another new platform for Google’s OS.

Let’s consider some of the new tech, products, and innovations promised by the increasingly prevalent Google.

Android’s Lollipop

The newest version of the Android OS featured heavily at the conference and the VP of design at Google Matias Duarte led the discussion. The new OS is titled Lollipop or L for short and it comes with a load of new tools for users to enjoy.

There is a developed range of interface-related features including lending pixels “depth” and providing on-screen objects with greater dimensions. The graphics are greatly improved too meaning that objects in the L OS can have physical surfaces and edges. These objects will also have physical surfaces and edges with accurate perspectives and shadows.

Wearable Android’s Smartwatches

Google revealed a new version of Android destined for smartwatch screens. It’s dubbed Android Wear and wearable devices using this OS will effectively be an extension of users Android smartphone interface. Notification from both phone apps and apps devised for wearable users will be built into the new gadgets. Emails, appointments, weather updates and text messages will appear on connected watches making communication and keeping on top of daily tasks much easier.

Android TV

Android watches, a new Android OS, and now Android TVs; users can run their whole digital lives on this tech and Android has its sights on capturing the living room on top of wrists and phones.

Android TV can be incorporated into smart TVs, set-top-boxes and video games consoles allowing users to switch seamlessly between devices. The Google Play Store will have plenty of options for using streaming apps like Netflix, downloading movies and video games and alternating between different services.

The level of control over Android TV has greatly increased and users can access a wide variety of devices to operate their OS. Smartphones, tablets, and video game controllers can be used to navigate Google’s new OS offering.

Perhaps the best addition (and most tantalising) is the fact that users of Android TV can utilize Google’s impressive search platform to look up general and specific content.

Really Android TV is an updated version of the largely unsuccessful Google TV. This was the tech giant’s first foray into creating TV software, but it failed to gain anything close to widespread adoption. Now however Google looks set to change that trend and its most recent offering is focused on creating a platform that’s all about entertainment and ease of use.

The TV marketplace is already very crowded and it includes some big names such as Apple, Amazon, and Roku. However Google announced some early partners like Sony and Sharp, so perhaps those tech organisations will update smart TVs with Google’s latest software.

Google’s Advantage is Android

Google is focusing on Android and its update called L looks set to be the biggest release in Androids most recent history. The upgrades to the interface will provide users with visuals comparable to those they already enjoy on their more powerful computer screens. This will have a clear benefit when it comes to gaming on mobile devices.

The Android OS is also destined for creating a more smart experience within your car. Android Auto will allow users to use voice commands to send messages, make phone calls, play music, and much more. This isn’t particularly new but expect the application of this software to be better integrated and easy to use.

The other new addition to Google’s tech approach is Chromecast via cloud. This feature will allow users to wirelessly beam content to nearby TVs without connecting to Wi-Fi. This works through the cloud and a proximity-based authorisation system.

Google’s latest I/O conference was mostly aimed at developers. The tech company seemed to be saying that Google is the one stop shop for anything anyone wants to do on the internet. This extends to whatever device the user wants to access content on.

There’ll be a new Chromebook and Android with enterprise features and everything that runs on Google will communicate easily and effectively. Really Google is attempting to give Apple a run for its money. There are new fitness apps and better partnerships with Adidas, Intel, and Nike.

The future looks good for Google and for anyone evangelical about the company it looks like you can live a life not just according to Google, but one where Google is the dominant delivery platform of everything you could ever want from the internet.