04 Jul Android At Work: Android L Offers More For The Enterprise
More colours, flatter design and performance improvements weren’t the only features displayed with the preview of Android L.
Determined to get the Android platform into the enterprise, Google also revealed some features that should appeal to both IT and end users alike at its annual Google I/O Developers conference.
While the focus was heavily weighted towards improving security, Google has also included a set of productivity tools to cater to the needs of professionals.
So, what enterprise features will Android L offer?
Without a doubt Android security has always been an issue for Google, particularly when it comes to pushing to get Android into the enterprise. To address this, Google announced a few additions to Android L that it hopes will improve interest in Android as a viable platform for enterprise mobility.
Samsung Knox Integration
Samsung Knox was released as a feature of the company’s SAFE (Samsung for Enterprise) initiative early last year, offering solutions for boosting security on Android devices used at work. While previously restricted for use only on Samsung devices, the security features provided by Knox will soon be available to all Android devices with Android L.
What does this offer?
The Knox platform allows corporate data to be kept separate from personal data, perfect for companies with a BYOD program. This makes it easier for IT to monitor apps and data being used for work-related purposes.
Android L will include over 5000 new APIs, which aim to unify policy, app and device management across all Android devices used in a corporate setting. Both developers and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) vendors will be able to take advantage of these APIs. This allows developers to more easily develop applications with the proper security and EMM vendors to ensure their products support a range of Android devices.
App Distribution and Purchasing via Google Play
Tackling another sore point of enterprise mobility, Google announced a new method of distributing apps. A bulk purchase option was announced, which aims to simplify large-scale app development across the enterprise. Automatic updates to corporate apps will also be available, making it easy for IT to control versions.
Estimation Battery Charge & Depletion Time
Not only has Google aimed to extend battery life of devices running Android L with Project Volta, but it also aims to get users to a charger before it’s too late.
Instead of obsessively checking your battery percentage throughout the day, Android L will give you an estimated time of how long the battery will last before it dies. For those that need their devices 24/7 or are constantly on the move, this feature will help you plan when to charge your device, so you can remain connected when you need to be.
In addition, when the device is charging, an estimated time for the device to reach 100% charge will display on the lockscreen.
Do Not Disturb
You’re sitting in a meeting and your phone begins to ring and/or vibrate, drawing disapproving glances from your colleagues. While the solution is as simple as switching your phone off or to silent, remembering to do this is the hard part.
To help you avoid interrupting a meeting or to give you a distraction free period of time, Android L has an in-built “Do Not Disturb” feature.
Previously, system level ‘do not disturb’ settings were missing from stock Android devices and hit and miss on devices from other manufacturers. Users had to rely on third-party apps to add this functionality to their device.
However, Google have decided to include this feature natively, making it easier to block phone – generated distractions. The ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode is fairly customisable, allowing you to set the phone to silent for a set period of time, specify whether calls and text messages are also suppressed as well as turn off all notifications until re-enabled at a suitable time.
The Do Not Disturb mode isn’t limited to removing only sound-based notifications, but also visual notifications. This feature groups visual notifications on the lockscreen into a single notification that shows the amount of ‘hidden’ or blocked notifications. To view the notifications, you simply have to tap the single notification, which will expand to show them all. If you wait till the end of the scheduled time (or you turn it off manually), the notifications will automatically expand when you unlock the phone.
Built-in PDF Reader
With most reports and data in a PDF format, Google have decided to make viewing PDF’s on your Android L software much easier. Normally, a user would be required to download separate applications such as PDF Viewer or Quick-office to successfully view PDF’s but now; Android L will include a build-in reader.
According to Android Police, users of Android L will also be able to send files in a word and PDF format. In addition, Android L users will have the ability to render PDF documents into bitmap images to assist users with printing.