For many businesses thinking about adopting tablets as part of a corporate mobile device strategy, the iPad has been the default choice. End users love it, but enterprise IT managers have worried about security, enterprise application management, and costs.
So you’d think that Android tablets, which are almost universally less expensive than iPads, would be a logical alternative for the enterprise. Yet, until now, enterprise adoption of Android tablets has lagged significantly behind iPad adoption. That may be about to change, thanks to the rollout of a new technology called Samsung Knox.
Knox is a feature that is part of Samsung’s SAFE program. SAFE stands for Samsung for Enterprises. What Knox does is to allow users to divide their phone or Android tablet into two halves – one for work, one for your personal life.
The IT department can control the work side of the device, dictating apps and adding all the security features and controls required to keep the enterprise network safe and functional. The device owner or end user controls the personal side.
Deployed first on the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II smart phones, Knox is expected to be added to new tablets soon. Samsung isn’t the first to come up with the idea of dividing a mobile device into business and personal spaces. VMware offers Horizon Mobile, a product that can partition Android devices. It also runs on the iPad, but doesn’t separate the iPad into work and personal spaces.
Analysts like Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies think that Knox and SAFE are Samsung’s biggest weapons in its ongoing war with Apple. “A dual-boot device that gives end users control over their personal apps while allowing enterprise IT to control the business apps required for work, is the easiest and simplest implementation of a truly safe BYOD policy that can protect both individual privacy and enterprise security,” Bajarin said.
Security Fears Slow Android App Development
Time Magazine columnist Harry McCracken has asserted in his Technologizer blog that when it comes to the iPad versus the larger universe of tablet devices, the story remains that there is no “tablet market” with iOS tablets making up more than 96% of all tablet activations within American enterprises.
TechCrunch’s Neil Florio wrote recently that Android tablet adoption could be a CIO’s dream – or nightmare – depending on only a few variables. The primary problem facing Android tablets in the enterprise remains security fears, Florio says. The Android operating system owns 60% of the consumer market for smart phones, so enterprise IT managers must have a strategy in place to deal with security concerns relating to older Android operating systems. And that, Florio says, leaves the door open for Android tablet adoption and Android app development.
A different problem for enterprise app development is that there are more than 550 Android device types from 48 manufacturers for sale in the U.S. – many of them with custom variants of the Android operating system. This means that enterprise security plans have to account for many different variations of the Android operating system, and that app development, too, has to consider all the different form factors and variations in the OS.
How are you handling Android app development in your organization? Are you part of the move towards enterprise adoption of android tablets? At InfoVision, we have clients at all points along the spectrum. We’re actively involved in Android app development and deployment projects, as well as in helping to design the security and data management policies that go along with BYOD and tablet adoption. So if you have questions, we probably have answers – contact us to find out!