Android Work takes shape as Google's BYOD Divide surfaces on Play

Google's play to establish Android in the enterprise has taken a step forward with the launch of its BYOD container for productivity apps.

Google has released a special edition of Divide, the business app it gained through an acquisition it made this May.

Google is upping the ante in its push for Android's place in the enterprise, launching the BYOD-focused Divide app under a special 'IT Preview' program that requires the device that the app is installed on has been enrolled in a number of specific enterprise mobile device management (MDM) platforms.

Google acquired New York startup Divide earlier this year , which provides enterprise BYOD owners with separate containers for work and personal use on a single phone. The Divide app is still available on Google Play but Google yesterday published a separate edition called Divide Productivity Review.

The two editions share many of the same features, such as secure email, work calendar, work contacts and tasks but the Productivity Review edition uses Chrome instead of the Divide private browser. Users can also install Docs, Sheets and Slides.

"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. With your IT manager's support, Divide Productivity Preview is your gateway to your existing corporate Exchange/ActiveSync or Notes-compatible infrastructure," Google says on the Play store.

To use Divide Productivity Preview, users will need to sign up to the Android IT Preview Program, which is limited to invited users. The preview program is currently supported by Google's IT Preview Program MDM partners including VMware's airwatch, Citrix, IBM, MobileIron, SAP and SOTI, as well as Google's App for Work.

According to MobileIron, the new enhancements for separate work and personal apps will arrive in 2015. Some customers will be invited to test out the new features and provide feedback to the company. 

One of the key enterprise features that Google introduced in Lollipop was 'managed profiles', which allow personal and work apps to co-exist on the same launcher.

As Google notes: "Apps that are associated with managed profiles appear alongside non-managed apps in the user's Launcher, recents screen, and notifications."

The feature is part of Android Work for Android 5.0, which Google announced earlier this year. Android Work will let IT admins publish work apps on Google Play and have them limited to users in their organisation.

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