In 2014, over 1 billion Android devices were shipped. Yes, one billion. Let that sink in for a second or two.
Android smartphones are quickly becoming the most popular personal computers ever. So, what does this popularity mean if you’re managing other people’s digital tools in the workplace? Is Android a viable option for business use? The short answer is yes! Read on to find out why.
It’s ideal for tight budgets
Let’s start with price and volume. Does your organization operate with tight budgets or thin margins, and need lots and lots of devices? You’re in luck because the cutthroat market for Android devices works in favour of buyers focusing on unit cost. The big champion of Android sales for the last few years, Samsung, may be in for a quite a ride as the consumer market plateaus and Chinese competitors pop up everywhere. But hey, we’re in business, and we’re just getting started with systematising smartphones as the de facto personal computer.
You’re spoilt for choice
Facing super tight competition, Android associated manufacturers and brands push themselves to differentiate within certain price ranges. Need physical QWERTY keyboards? Removable memory cards? A built-in projector? More than 16 gigabytes of storage without paying an arm and a leg (thanks, Apple). Well, you can have it.
There’s a plethora of different Android devices to choose from. Just like the good old Windows PCs have been doing for decades, they all run the same apps regardless of the brand.
It’s open to change
The next trick up Android’s sleeve is openness – the fact that you can customize standard retail Android devices to quite a high degree. And yes, they’ll still run the standard applications
Just imagine the possibilities. If you’re operating a chain of restaurants, stores or other institutions, you can take even more control over workflows and customer experiences. There are custom OEMs that can help you take the Android platform into your own hands and build unique machines for your needs.
And then there’s the flipside
Unfortunately, Android’s diversity has a downside, too. The fragmentation of vendors, screen sizes and software versions means that even a single vendor might use as many different branches of Android source code as they have devices for sale and in development. If you build complicated software from Android, you’ll need to test on quite a few devices.
What about the crazy good deals on heaps of hardware? That coin has two sides too. With a cutthroat market, Android manufacturers have razor-thin margins, and they are less likely to invest in security updates for years on end. Even though they’d just need to repackage Google’s Android code and push it to their devices, they tend to move on and focus on building new devices.
Complicating matters further, some mobile carriers need to further customize and approve software updates for Android devices on their networks. What’s more, fast hardware accelerated disk encryption is far from universally available, although this is set to improve. Granular access control to sensitive user data is also something that’s just entering the horizon for mainstream Android devices.
Following the recently revealed “Stagefright” family of Android vulnerabilities, big names like LG and Samsung have begrudgingly announced that they’re working on monthly patch cycles for Android. Finally, right? As a user, you can be pretty confident that Android security support will only get better from here.
Take control of the risks
With all these advantages, possibilities and challenges related to Android for business, how could we get closer to a utopia of Android-powered, affordable, open and customizable touch screen computing?
Well, that’s where Miradore Online comes in. Fleets of business computers, big and small, stationary and portable, always need device management to run in a controlled fashion. Android is no exception but rather a strong case for mitigating risk with proper tools.
We recently updated to Miradore Online for Android with plenty of new features your business can use to manage risk and attack surfaces. Our Mobile Device Management gives IT administrators application black/whitelisting and silent app installation (for Samsung devices). Additionally, device users can be denied access to removing MDM restrictions, device settings, Google Play Store, apps from other sources (sideloading), the device camera, Wi-FI, Bluetooth, Mobile data and roaming.
And that’s only our latest good news. Check out the countless ways Miradore can help secure your Android fleet here.
A future full of excitement
Whether your organization is deeply invested in Android or just starting to see the promise of the platform, now’s a good time to start building or improving skills and infrastructure. At Miradore, we’re ready to help organisations using any mix of mobile platforms.
As the Android ecosystem matures and uses its advantages to take on Apple, your IT operations will spend the late 2010s reaping the benefits of having invested in a platform with scalable cost structures, superior flexibility and openness. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, sign up for Miradore Online for free and easy to use Mobile Device Management.
Image credit: Alan Levine