Android for Work review

Android for Work introduces some brilliant mobile device management features but feels rough around the edges

  • Creates clear division between work and personal profiles on a single device; Improved enterprise app management for Android
  • Device support is limited; Remote profile removal leaves deactivated apps behind

Android is the most widely used mobile operating system on the market, but has lagged behind iOS when it comes to the range of options available for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments. With the launch of Android for Work, Google hopes to change this.

Android for Work's stand-out feature is the Work Profile, which creates vital separation between your users' personal and business lives, at least when it comes to what's going on with their phones. By giving users an entirely separate set of apps for their work account, controlled via your Mobile Device Management (MDM) service, Android for Work allows you to apply policy restrictions, create an approved list of work apps, and wipe your user's business account without affecting their personal Android account.

Android for Work is supported by most major MDM services, including IBM MaaS360 and VMWare AirWatch, but we're going to be testing it using Google's own MDM tools, built into Google Apps for Work, which costs 3.30 per user per month.

Configuration

If you're a Google Apps for Work user, then Android for Work's settings and options will be integrated into the Security and Device Management areas of your Admin interface. Non-Apps users will have to create a free Google Admin account in order to manage the token that authenticates your MDM provider.

Generating that token is done via a button on the Security screen. If you're using Google Apps for Work to manage devices, your next step is to go to Device management > Mobile > Set up Android for Work, where you have to paste in your token. The process is detailed in the Android for Work support portal, but we'd have welcomed a step-by-step wizard.

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