Google has launched Android for Work, which is designed to encourage and enable businesses to bring more devices onboard by adding security and more manageability to the Android platform.
"For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals," wrote Rajen Sheth, Google's director of product management for Android and Chrome for Work, in a blog post . "But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped."
Android for Work features enhanced default encryption, SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support in Android 5.0, Lollipop, to isolate and protect work data.
Google also said workers can use their personal apps without fear of their employer seeing them, since the employer only manages work data and can't erase or view their personal emails, photos and documents.
Sheth said that employee devices that don't have work profiles running natively or that use Android versions Ice Cream Sandwich through KitKat can use a new Android for Work app that delivers secure email, calendar, documents, contacts and access to approved work apps.
While the company is enabling Google Play for Work to allow businesses to securely deploy and manage apps, Google also is offering a suite of business apps for everyday tasks like email and calendar.
The company, according to Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, is making another push toward the enterprise. Google has been working to get its office and cloud-based apps into the enterprise, competing with established rivals like Microsoft.
"It's obvious to me that Google is paying attention to what would make enterprise data centers more comfortable with a business use of Android devices," Olds said. "Being able to wall off the business applications and data from personal applications and data is a very important feature. It also, by the way, makes it easier for IT departments to allow a 'bring your own device' policy where the employee pays for part -- or all -- of the cost of the hardware."
This is an important goal for Google, which sees the enterprise as its last largely untapped market.
"If they can carve out a sizable chunk of the enterprise application business, it would make a significant impact on Google's bottom line," said Olds. "As Google gets bigger and bigger, it gets much more difficult to keep up their growth rate. They need to hit triples and home runs, and the enterprise could offer that."