The mobile revolution has been driven largely by Google’s open-source Android operating system. Powering over 85% of smartphones shipped in 2017, it is clear that Android continues to dominate the mobile industry.
For enterprises, however, the management of Android devices remains a challenge. From its fragmentation to perceptions of security risks, the platform does not have the same dominance in the enterprise market.
Starting with Android Lollipop (5.0), Google has equipped Android with a modern management framework that provides both security and separation of work and personal data. This framework, now described as the enterprise features of Android (formerly known as “Android for Work”), has been mandatory in Android devices since Android 6.0, which was released in 2015. With each major Android release, the platform has added features allowing enterprises more granular control over apps and data both on the device and in the work profile.
One of the major frustrations and concerns about Android is that each new OS release seems to reach only a limited set of devices. While Google has worked on encouraging device manufacturers and carriers to roll out updates, the market expects only a fraction of devices to get the latest OS release.
While this may be true in the consumer space, at MobileIron we see that enterprises often deploy devices that are more up-to-date and with more recent OS versions than consumers do. We believe that employees using Android smartphones for work typically have higher budgets for these devices, whether these are BYOD or corporate-supplied devices
*82% of enterprise Android devices managed by MobileIron are running 6.0 or later.
Source: MobileIron managed devices, Jan 2018.
As a result, we find that while most sources report that in January 2018, barely 55% of consumer Android devices were running Android 6.0 or later, the distribution for enterprise devices exceeds 82%. Yes, corporate Android devices are more up-to-date, and can benefit from the recent features introduced by Google as part of the Android enterprise program.
Not surprisingly, Android OEMs are taking enterprise seriously. More and more OEMs supporting Android are focused on meeting enterprise needs. Numerous OEMs, including those listed in the Google’s ”Android Enterprise Recommended” list, announced yesterday are now committingto 3 years of patches. With this enterprise-friendly approach to hardware availability and software maintenance, various OEMs are demonstrating their ability to align far more closely with the typical hardware lifecycle many organizations adopt. This offers a better solution to the age-old consumer/enterprise divide.
For enterprise mobility admins, if you have not seriously considered Android for your deployments — whether it’s a part of your BYOD, corp-liable offering or task worker deployments, now is the time to evaluate the new enterprise capabilities that Android offers. Google’s increased focus on security and flexibility, and the growing momentum towards Android enterprise — a newer and more effective Android management solution — means that Android is now here and ready for the enterprise. And, the powerful combination of Android with an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platform that brings all of these new capabilities to life, means that enterprises can now roll out Android devices at scale with confidence.
For more details, download our most recent white paper Android is ready for the Enterprise.
This article was originally published here.