Google is making moves to heighten Android's profile in the enterprise.
The tech giant quietly released a business-minded version of the Divide app on the Google Play store. The app, which delivers a secure containerized workspace, is available to invited participants of the Android IT Preview Program. The original Divide app remains available.
The Android IT Preview Program is a Google-led technology initiative aimed at bolstering the mobile operating system's presence in corporate "bring your own device" (BYOD) programs and helping businesses tackle the thorny issue of letting corporate and personal data intermingle on the same device. And not a moment too soon.
In August, IDC reported that smartphone vendors shipped a record 301.3 million units worldwide during the second quarter of 2014. Android accounted for a whopping 84.7 percent share of the market, indicating that handsets powered by Google's mobile OS are an increasingly common sight in the workplace.
Later that same month, IDC forecast that by 2018, smartphone shipments will reach 1.8 billion units, compared to just over 1 billion in 2013. Growth will be fueled, in large part, by explosive adoption rates of low-cost Android devices in emerging markets, predicted the market research group.
Blending mobile device and application management (MDM, MAM) capabilities with productivity-enabling apps, Google's technology keep business data secure and separate from personal data and apps. Early partners include AirWatch, MobileIron, Citrix, MaaS360 and SAP.
Google acquired Divide in May for an undisclosed amount. Announcing the deal in a brief blog post, the startup said it "was founded with a simple mission: Give people the best mobile experience at work. As part of the Android team, we’re excited to continue developing solutions that our users love."
Months later, Google is offering select customers an early look at those efforts.
"Divide Productivity Preview provides a complete set of apps for business email, calendar, contacts, tasks, downloads to get your job done with speed, simplicity and security," states the app's Google Play listing. "With your IT manager's support, Divide Productivity Preview is your gateway to your existing corporate Exchange/ActiveSync or Notes-compatible infrastructure."
Included apps include an S/MIME-compatible Mail client and a Calendar with VIP alerts. The Contacts app supports directory lookup and can be used to export contacts into a personal address books. Rounding out the set are Tasks and Downloads, the latter of which allows users to save, share and view attachments.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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