April 07, 2011, 3:40 PM — Google is trying to make Android more appealing to businesses by adding IT administration tools to Google Apps that can encrypt Android tablets or remotely locate a lost Android phone and reset the PIN.
In a new blog post, Google product manager Mayur Kamat announced that "With the new version of the Google Apps Device Policy app, employees can quickly secure a lost or stolen Android 2.2+ device by locating it on a map, ringing the device, and resetting the device PIN or password remotely via the new My Devices website."
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Android 2.2 and up is used on mobile phones, while Android 3.0 is for tablets, such as the Motorola Xoom. To make Android tablets more business friendly, Google Apps customers will now be able to require encrypted storage on tablets running Android 3.0.
The tablet encryption requirement is achieved through an API that lets administrators enforce policies such as encryption and the aforementioned PIN reset. While Android for phones has supported software-level encryption, it appears that Android 3.0 for tablets supports the more robust hardware-level encryption.
The PIN reset and encryption features, as well as a new tool for looking up corporate contacts, will be rolled out to Google Apps business and education customers. Google Apps for Business costs $50 per user per year for Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar and several other applications. To get all the new features, end users will need to update the Google Apps Device Policy app and download the new Google Apps Lookup app from the Android market.
. (See also: Google Apps basics.)
It only makes sense for Google to bring IT administration tools for Android right into Google Apps.
"With more than 300,000 devices activated per day globally, Android is seeing rapid adoption in the post-PC era," Kamat said. "Android works quite well with Google Apps, but we're working to make it an excellent choice for both end users and IT at businesses and schools."