Our first take on the latest news from the Android Enterprise Summit 2018
By Colm Warner
CWSI ‘s team of Android experts has just returned from the Android Enterprise Partner Summit 2018 in London. The jam-packed two day event delivered way too much information to do it justice in one post but here are some key take-aways that caught our attention.
Android Enterprise Recommended Devices
Android has outlined the criteria that devices must meet in order to achieve Android Enterprise Recommended status (more on this here). Zero-Touch Enrolment (ZTE) will be supported on all recommended devices, and Work Profile must deliver a consistent user experience, even if the personal side of the operating system view continues to vary based on manufacturer software.
For users, this means a familiar feel to the working environment, even if your handset needs to be replaced or upgraded. For administrators, this makes administration simple and reduces the need for repeated user training unless significant changes to the profile are made.
Devices will need to get at least one “dessert upgrade” (major Android version release) and have security patches delivered within 90 days of release. Rollback protection is being introduced so that downgrading devices to exploit legacy vulnerabilities will no longer be possible. This should lengthen the support life of devices, and allow businesses to manage the life-cycles of these devices with confidence.
Android Enterprise Recommended Devices will have use-case recommendations. PoS, IoT, single-use and many other deployment options will be specified as part of the recommendation, so this isn’t simply a case of a device being recommended for running Android N, but assistance in device choice based on intended use. Although the program has only been running for two months, there are already 31 devices from 9 OEMs on the list, with many others in the validation process.
Device Administrator to be Deprecated
This announcement shows a major change in direction for Android Enterprise. Over the next two releases, DAM APIs will disappear, and organisations using them will need to plan policy migration to Android Enterprise Work Profiles or managed devices.
In reality, most handsets deployed today will not be getting the Android Q OS updates, so this can be planned as part of a renewal strategy and the announcement of this change gives businesses time to plan. Applications that currently request device administrator rights will need tweaking, but these rights have been abused by some applications in the past, so overall we feel the transition will be worth it.
Disabling Work Apps and Notifications Out-of-Hours
In Android P, users will have the ability to disable work notifications and apps outside of business hours, making a personally-enabled device appear to be entirely personal when not required for business purposes.
Clearer segregation of business and personal apps will make life easier for users who have a personal and corporate version of the same app installed. Android P onwards will detect multiple instances of an app, and support in-app switching from the work instance to the personal instance without risking data sharing between the two.
Google Play Enhancements
While the Google Play Store has seen many improvements over recent iterations, the ability for administrators to build their own custom views is improving now. In the past, EMM administrators could lock down the Play Store to restrict app installation, but typically had to deploy a separate catalogue for web apps or in-house apps.
On the roadmap is the ability to provide users with a familiar platform, where in-house, web and public apps are all managed from a Play Store app.
These are just the early highlights from an information-packed event. Look out for further insights from our team of Android specialists.