Claiming that smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace, Google has announced Android for Work, a new program to provide enterprises with key mobility tools. The initiative is quite detailed, and includes a dedicated suite of productivity apps, a Google Play for Work store for businesses to deploy and manage apps, employee work profiles to keep corporate data distinct from personal data, and support for legacy Android OS versions (KitKat or older) via a separate app.
Google has also corralled a fleet of partners to provide the additional services needed to make Android for Work possible, particularly in terms of applications and device management. BlackBerry is one such partner, providing BES12 as a preferred enterprise mobility management (EMM) service to Android for Work customers. BlackBerry is also providing application support for Android for Work with BBM Meetings, BBM Protected, WorkLife, and other services.
While not as targeted as its Samsung partnership, BlackBerry’s participation in Android for Work reinforces its commitment to being primarily an agnostic enterprise mobile services provider than a platform or hardware maker. On Google’s end, the program should only help further Android penetration in enterprise, and considering the announcement was timed during IBM’s InterConnect conference, should be taken as a direct counterpunch to the company’s recent partnership with Apple.