Android is undergoing changes that give developers the means to make it easier to deploy and manage in enterprise environments. This is courtesy of Samsung which recently formed a new partnership with Google to integrate its KNOX technology into Android ‘L’.
The changes were announced at Google I/O, and will be built in to Android L when it is released.
A key area of the change is the incorporation of Samsung’s KNOX technology. This is a suite of mobile enterprise security solutions that provides device protection, management and development options, and under the partnership between Samsung and Google, the technology will be used to create a unified, secure implementation of Android for enterprise customers.
The new features from this in Android ‘L’ will include the ability to manage and separate business and personal data.
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Some of the main improvements in Android 'L' will be device and data security. On the Android Developers Blog, Srikanth Rajagopalan explains how the enhanced technology is designed to keep personal and corporate data both separate and safe:
“We achieve the data separation by building on the existing multi-user support in Android: personal and corporate applications will run as two separate Android users. Data is kept safe by using block-level disk encryption as well as verified boot technology. For those of you familiar with KNOX, this is analogous to KNOX Workspace. EMMs will be able to take advantage of new Android SDK APIs to enable the creation of a managed profile, which is where all corporate applications and data will reside.“
EMMs refers to third-party Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions built on top of the new enterprise APIs launching with Android L release.
The changes will also include support for IT restrictions and policies. EMMs can use new Android SDK APIs , which have evolved from KNOX APIs, to allow IT admins to enforce a wide set of policies, ranging from system settings and certificate provisioning to application-specific (e.g. Chrome) configurations and restrictions.
There will also be new back end APIs that can be used for mobile application management to manage the corporate application catalog, and to remotely deploy applications to the managed profile on the employees’ devices.
The ability to develop apps using these APIs is obviously attractive, and you can check out the new Enterprise APIs by downloading the Android L Developer Preview. If you’ve already created apps using Samsung KNOX APIs, Samsung will be providing a KNOX Compatibility Library that will let such applications run on all Android 'L' devices.