Google launches three new Android features for business

Android continues its push into the business world with three new updates for its business and education portfolios.

Google announced three large updates for its Android for Business portfolio on Thursday. The updates focus on security and connecting with colleagues, and will be available to all customers of Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education.

The first update upgrades the Google Apps Device Policy app. This app already enabled an admin to remotely wipe data, lock idle devices, and set the minimum level of security for a password, but this update beefs it up considerably. Employees can now locate a lost or stolen device on a map, ring the device (in case it's just misplaced somewhere in your office), and reset the device PIN or password remotely all via the new My Devices Website.

Note that most of these features will only work with devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or higher. Currently that accounts for roughly 65 percent of Android devices. Of course, there are several third-party apps that offer similar features, but it's good to see Google building this into Android's core functionality, which will certainly help facilitate corporate integration, especially if your company already uses Google Apps.

With the second update, Google Apps administrators can now encrypt data on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablets in their "Encrypt Data on Device" control panel. With the Motorola Xoom already out in the wild and many more Honeycomb tablets on the way (including a rumored Nexus Tablet from Google), this is a big deal. As I discussed in a recent guide to Smartphone Security, unencrypted data stored on devices has been one of the main obstacles for Android's integration into the corporate ecosystem. This means that people who want to use tablets for business will have more options that are more secure. Devices must have version 2.0 or higher of the Google Apps Device Policy app in order to use this feature.

The third announcement is Google Apps Lookup, a new corporate contacts app intended to make it easier to find and contact others within your organization. Using the app, you can type or speak the name or e-mail address of a colleague, and then tap to contact them via phone, e-mail, IM, or text message. Administrators will need to enable "Shared Contacts" in the control panel, but once they do Lookup pulls information from the Google Apps directory. Should a coworker's information change it will always be kept up to date on everyone's device. Android 2.1 (Éclair) or higher is required for Lookup.

While none of these updates are absolute "game changers" they each represent a significant step forward for the platform. Google is trying to make it harder for admins to say no to Android devices, and each of these updates will help in that effort.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags consumer electronicsGoogleappsCell PhonesPhonesAndroid

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brent Rose

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?