Google has moved to make Android enterprise friendly, creating a new secure profile for employees wishing to use compatible smartphones at work.
The Google OS's reputation as a secure operating system has trailed far behind that of Apple, BlackBerry and Microsoft, despite its overwhelming dominance as a consumer OS.
Launching its new Android at Work program, Google announced a range of new features that will be familiar to users of rival operating systems. The first is work profiles, built on enhanced SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support. Users can build a dedicated work profile that keeps its employer completely away from personal data and protects sensitive work content.
Google also created an Android for Work app, for smartphones which cannot run work profiles natively. The app features secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to work applications. The app can be remotely managed by an employer's IT department.
A new Google Play for Work app allows businesses to manage apps across its staff using Android for Work, allowing them to approve each app and speed up their distribution.
The company has also created a range of business apps for email, contacts and calendar that support Microsoft Exchange and Notes and allow document editing.
Employers need to use an enterprise mobility management solution in order to manage the Android devices. Google has partnered with a range of companies including BlackBerry and SAP to allow their solutions to control Android at Work handsets from one dashboard.
Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management, Android and Chrome for Work, said the program was a means of increasing Android's functionality in the workplace. He said: "For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals. But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilised in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped.
"We're announcing the Android for Work program to tap into that potential. With a group of partners, we're helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform."