Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has spotted a trend, and as the Mountain View company tends to do, it’s capitalizing on it. This morning an app called Android for Work popped up on the Google Play store. It’s not revolutionary and it’s not going to change the world. It’s Google’s play for enterprise and it’s awesome.
Android for Work is aimed at those using older Google powered devices. It allows those devices to be used with business IT systems, separating the work part of the phone from the personal side. It’s practical, it’s simple, and it may be the biggest move that anybody makes in enterprise all year.
Google beats Apple enterprise drive
Here’s the thing about Office IT systems: they’re expensive. They’re so expensive that many businesses spent thousands or millions of dollars each year trying to figure out a way to lower costs. Google just gave those companies access to millions of underpowered Android phones that are just perfect for basic enterprise tasks.
The device will need to be linked in with one of Google’s enterprise partners in order to work. Those partners are, however, varied and include VMWare, Iron Horse and Blackberry among others.
Apple currently holds the majority of the enterprise market because the phones are the most reliably compatible with business systems. Google’s card is the lack of expense associated with its phones, and that may be a winning bet in an environment where businesses hate spending money, particularly on a second device to replicate the functions of a personal phone.
Leveraging a fractured system
The big issue with Android is the fractious nature of the install base. The essential features of Android for Work are natively contained in Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop, but they’re missing in older versions of the company’s smart phones. Unfortunately the vast majority of the Android phones out there today are running older versions of the company’s mobile operating system.
Google has one thing on its side as it attempts to wrest control of the enterprise market from Apple. Android phones are cheap and most people already have one. Android for work is a solution to the company’s biggest problem: the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem.
Simplicity changes everything
With Android for Work the majority of functional Android devices don’t need to be replaced in order to be reliably used in the workplace. Here’s the real benefit, Android for Work will be able to be used in areas of the world where the Google operating system has an absolute majority of the market share.
IT managers may not want to see Android devices coming in the door, but they may not have a choice. If the CIO is listening to the finance side of the company rather than the tech side, Android for Work is a compromise that the business is just going to have to deal with, and it’s one that could put Google in every office on the globe.