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Google launches Android device enterprise certification program

Announced in a blog post today, Google explained the “diversity” of Android devices available is good for customer choice but can be less desirable in enterprise IT departments. Firms need mobile devices which are reliable, consistent and secure. The reality of the Android ecosystem is that not all devices currently meet these requirements.
Google’s now moving to address this with a new certification process. It will label phones it deems to be suitable for business customers as “Android Enterprise Recommended.” The global initiative aims to set a new “bar of excellence” for devices used to support mission-critical enterprise workloads.
The scheme is another indication of Google’s growing frustration with the fragmentation of Android. The program specifically targets some of Android’s biggest issues, including the refusal from many manufacturers to regularly issue updates. Google noted that enterprises demand devices which will receive long-term support and rapid protection against new risks.

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To ensure this is the case, phones labelled Android Enterprise Recommended must receive security updates for at least their first three years of life. Patches must be issued to users within 90 days of their release by Google. Devices also have to support managed profiles, zero-touch enrolment in deployment strategies and a “consistent” app experience.
At launch, several popular devices are supported. These include the BlackBerry KEYone, BlackBerry Motion, Nokia 8, LG V30, LG G6 and several Huawei, Motorola and Sony phones. Google’s entire Pixel family is also included. Several major brands are currently absent from the list though, including Samsung which already provides its own enterprise-specific features. Google said more devices will be approved in the coming months.
Android Enterprise Recommended could make Android phones more appealing to enterprises who need resilience and manageability. However, the program’s also another admission that fragmentation is taking its toll on the Android ecosystem.
Android phones are still unlikely to receive regular updates, an issue which could put company data at risk. Google said it’s committed to making Android more inviting to enterprises, claiming it wants to “add confidence” to IT departments.
“Mobility has been critical to digital transformation for enterprises,” the company said. “We have listened to our customers and partners, and believe that the Android Enterprise Recommended program will help simplify and add confidence to decision making, allowing global IT leaders to focus more on their core business. Together with our partners, we’ll continue to deliver devices and services to make our enterprise customers successful through enterprise mobility.”

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