Google Prods Businesses To Embrace Its Smartphones With 'Android For Work'

The numbers don't lie -- Android is the most popular mobile platform on the planet, and it's not even a close race. According to the latest data from International Data Corporation, Android at the end of 2014 was installed on 81.5 percent of the world's smartphones. That works out to over a billion people, but it's still not everyone. Not that Google is likely to ever achieve a 100 percent share, there is room for growth, particularly among business users. That's where the company's new Android for Work program comes into play.

As Google sees things, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace by the majority of workers, leaving their potential for business and innovation largely untapped. Google wants to change that with its Android for Work initiative, which entails securing, managing, and innovating on Android in ways that are appropriate for business users.

Google's essentially taking advantage of the growing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend that has consumers using their own personal devices in the workplace. To make that easier (and feasible), Google users can have two profiles -- one for work and one for play. But rather than toggle between the two, work-related apps (identifiable by an orange briefcase badge) can sit alongside personal apps.

Android for Work

Having a separate and secure work profile is key here, as it ensures workers that their boss won't be able to thumb through and fiddle with their personal content. And on the flip side, it allows companies to deploy approved work apps while allowing IT admins to easily manage business data on Android devices. In short, your Android device becomes a two-headed beast.

Google isn't going at this alone, and is instead joined by several partners. One of them is BlackBerry, which is working with Google to enable BES12, a cross-platform EMM solution that sets up a secure, dedicated profile to manage work applications.

"BlackBerry is working with Google to provide customers with solutions they can confidently deploy on all major mobile platforms within their organization," said Billy Ho, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Products and Value Added Solutions, BlackBerry. "Android for Work with BES12 will provide customers with another option to enhance their mobile security and the productivity of their employees, and the peace of mind that they will not have to relinquish any control over corporate data, sacrifice user experience or introduce more complexity into their environments."

Tapping into the vast Android ecosystem is an interesting and probably smart play for BlackBerry. As the saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!