Google Apps adds new tools for managing Android phones

Google Apps got a mobility upgrade on Wednesday, as the company added four new features to its MDM toolkit for Android smartphones.

Google Enterprise product manager Clayton Jones echoed the usual public statement on BYOD, in an official blog post announcing the upgrades.

"With thousands of mobile applications to choose from and an increasing number of websites optimized for mobile, today's employees can work whenever and wherever they choose," he said. "It also means IT organizations now have the dual challenge of both helping employees be more productive and protecting corporate data."

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To that end, the upgrades are focused on preventing Android devices from compromise by outside agents. The ability to automatically wipe inactive accounts after a pre-set amount of time, support EAP-secured WiFi networks, and identify devices on a granular level via IMEI and suchlike are important administrative capabilities. The new features can also let admins know if an Android phone is rooted or has a custom ROM installed.

Forrester analyst T.J. Keitt said that it's a strong, competitive move from Google, not least because Microsoft has a solid play in the same space.

"Microsoft has Intune for mobile management and monitoring," he said. "Google needed to demonstrate that they could support technology managers here."

What's more, the fact that this announcement is exclusively about managing Android devices is "noticeable," according to Keitt. Still, he added, the exclusion of Apple devices shouldn't be a major hindrance.

"I don't think that's going to stop any business with a large number of iPhones & iPads from deploying Google Apps," he said.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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This story, "Google Apps adds new tools for managing Android phones" was originally published by NetworkWorld.

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