Google launches enterprise Android device recommendation program, omits Samsung

Google's Android Enterprise Recommended program includes a big chunk of the Android device field, but omits Samsung. Here's a look at Google's requirements.

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Google is aiming to help Android's prospects in the enterprise by recommending devices that met its requirements for enterprise use. One notable exclusion from the Android Enterprise Recommended program is Samsung.

The recommendation program from Google could be a boon for device makers included in the program, but Android is playing catch up in the enterprise.

Samsung isn't on the initial recommended list, but it was involved with crafting the overall requirements. Google said:

During development of the Android Enterprise Recommended program, we worked closely with Samsung on the overall requirements and invited them to be a launch partner in the program. This is the first group of partners to be announced and we'll be working with more OEMs in the future.

Nevertheless, Google's Android Enterprise Recommended list includes many of Samsung's rivals such as LG, Nokia, Huawei, and BlackBerry. Google did add that the devices on its recommended list are designed to hit multiple price points, but the company doesn't set pricing policies for partners.

David Still, director of Android Enterprise, said in a blog post that the initial list of partners will evolve over time.

Throughout 2018, we will also be applying the Android Enterprise Recommended framework to additional partner types, including OEMs of "dedicated" and rugged devices, mobile carriers, enterprise mobility management (EMM) providers and systems integrators.

The omission of Samsung, however, won't help the overall enterprise Android cause. According to Engyte data in 2017, Apple's iOS accounted for 82 percent of enterprise activity compared to Android's 18 percent. Egnyte's data is based on a sample of more than four billion activities. Jamf, which makes Apple device management software, found 99 percent of enterprises use the iPhone or iPad.

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One big issue for Android in the enterprise is that there are too many flavors of the operating system to support and patch. Google is attempting to wrap some requirements and best practices for its recommended devices.

Android Enterprise Recommended has the following starter requirements and best practices:

  • Minimum hardware specifications for Android 7.0+ devices
  • Support for bulk deployment of Android devices including zero-touch enrollment
  • Delivery of Android security updates within 90 days of release from Google, for a minimum of three years
  • Availability of unlocked devices, direct from manufacturer or reseller
  • Consistent application experience in managed profiles and on managed devices
  • Minimal preloaded software on managed devices

Google noted that it will "continue to raise the bar" with its requirements to provide the best enterprise experience.

At launch, Google is recommending the following Android device manufacturers:

  • BlackBerry KEYone and Motion
  • Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL
  • Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite, and P smart
  • LG V30 and G6
  • Motorola X4 and Z2
  • Nokia 8

Read also: BlackBerry CEO says security is key competitive advantage over other Android handsets

The notable exception in that list is Samsung, which has a business-to-business unit and traction in the enterprise with the Galaxy Note 8 and upcoming Galaxy S9 pair.

For the Android devices available at launch, the Android Enterprise Recommendation effort could be a boost -- as well as a back to the future move. BlackBerry used to dominate the enterprise, but is now Android based. Nokia was also a stalwart. A vendor like LG or Huawei could get an enterprise lift from Google's stamp of approval.

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