Update for recent release of Andriod for work, Google has listen to the feedback with issues on battery and changed its implementation. Now with Andriod for work it doesn’t create a new Andriod user profile, instead it creates another instance of all apps in same user profile. This has fixed the battery problem and made it the MDM solution to go with.
With the announcement of Lollipop 5.0 Android OS, Google is promotingAndroid for Work as Lollipop brings a lot of security and controls which are required by most enterprises.
Android for Work is the out of the box solution for enterprise customers who are more concerned around security, data, control. I decided to get my hands dirty with these enterprise features.
- Android 5 and above on your phone or if you have Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean versions you need the Android for Work App
- A Google account with Google Play installed in the personal profile.
- The Google Apps Device Policy if you’re using Google Apps for Work as your EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management), or a Work Policy Controller application from a Google-approved EMM provider.
Just like education now Google has a separate Play Store for work where all developers can take advantage of these deep controlled API’s and improve advance enterprise features of their apps.
I tried it with my Android 5.1 on Google Nexus 5 and with a Google for Work email account. Enabling EMM for Google for Work is straight forward 5 Step process —
Step 1: Follow the instructions on help center link, to activate EMM for your Google for Work domain. Create a test OU and enforce work profile policy on your domain.
Step 2: Update your play services to latest version
Step 3: Manage Google for Work Play Store for your domain and white-list application.
Step 5: Install the white-listed apps using Play Store for Work on your phone
That’s it you are now good to go, all your apps installed via play store. I installed Gmail, Google Drive, Hangouts, Salesforce and few other apps to test and here are the reviews.
It did a great job of separating my personal Gmail data with Gmail for Work account. Administrator can now only wipe my work profile data in case of a breach not personal data. All data is also encrypted separately.
I get different notifications for both apps in notification center, all google for work apps come with a secure icon on top of the original app icon.
There is always a compromise between Security and User experience. User experience wise using two Gmail apps, two Hangouts apps, two Drive apps is not good. I can’t search across apps and switching between apps is not smooth at all.
Unlikely all other Google products, Android for Work is not designed to use battery in a efficient way. Just with 3–4 work apps, it was running 8–12 processes for my work profile and it was eating battery life. It was so bad that I had to revert back to my original settings within a day.
Activating and setting up android for work is really simple and easy for administrators, but it required each user to install apps from Google for Work Play Store. There is no way to push default apps with work profile right now which makes it difficult for a organization wide roll out.
Overall Android for Work is a bold step towards making Android the device of choice for enterprises, but with increasing adoption towards BYOD and employee-first trends it doesn’t live up to the mark on UX and performance. Hopefully Google with gather all these early feedback and improve the program.