• Android for Work via BES12 for Developers and The New BlackBerry


    On the heels of yesterdays posts about BlackBerry's Google union and how they secured the OS comes a further overview of Android for Work and how it works with BES12.

    The overview has developers in mind...Android developers.

    Now, assuming most of you reading this post are developers, let’s focus on what you need to know to reach enterprise users for your app. An application submitted to Google Play can be deployed as a work app onto the Android for Work enabled device after the app is added as a managed work app via BES12. This can be a great opportunity for app developers to reach more users in the enterprise space, taking advantage of BlackBerry’s secure infrastructure without custom security related development for enterprises.
    They go on to explain the process in a succinct but clear way.

    In general, you don’t need to do anything besides following android app-development best practices for your apps to run under the Android for Work environment, however you need to ensure that your app is compatible with a company’s work profiles configured via IT policy. You may find that corporate enabled Android for Work devices are set up with device restrictions; for example: limited access to the camera, SMS, external storage, screen captures and so on. The screenshot below is an example list of IT policy settings that admins can control for the Android for Work enabled devices via BES12. When your app is using any of the device features managed by one of these policies, your app will need to check if there is a valid handler for the intent required and take appropriate action when the intent can’t be resolved (such as showing an error message). By default, most intents do not cross from one profile to another.


    Lastly, testing your app with work profiles is essential and easy to do on Android for Work enabled devices. When you side-load an app on a device that contains a managed profile, the app is installed on both profiles and two app icons are displayed – one with an Android for Work logo (brief case) embedded into your application icon indicating it’s a work app and the other the standard icon, indicating it’s a personal app. You can test your apps in the work settings during development.


    Work and play are going to be a pretty huge selling point for BlackBerry in the future. Lots of corporations have mixed emotions about allowing employees to "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD).

    In a recent survey, Bitglass found that 57% of end users and 38% of IT professionals do not currently participate in their company’s BYOD program due to concerns about their employers’ IT group snooping on them. Another study, this one by CompTIA earlier this year, showed that 53% of enterprises currently do not allow BYOD at least partly because of security concerns. That figure is up significantly from the 34% who reported the same thing in 2013.



    Securing Android from BlackBerry's standpoint is the most common sense (and potentially lucrative) idea for them right now. It's about bolstering their enterprise software's presence.

    Whether BYOD adoption continues to grow or decline over the next few years, the one thing that appears certain is that it is not going away completely any time soon. Personally owned devices can enable better productivity and help reduce costs for enterprises. But to get there, employers will need to get smarter about how to manage personal device use in the enterprise. And employees will just have to get used to the idea of at least some limitations on their ability to use personal phones and tablets at work.
    BlackBerry knows that Android devices control over 80% of current mobile users. Is the Priv an example model they made for just-in-time demoing of BlackBerry's Android securing capabilities? Maybe so. They're imagining the possibilities and going for broke on that plan. John Chen said it himself when he was asked if there were suprises to him when he took over as CEO.

    "There were some positive surprises and negative surprises. The negative was how we had disconnected with our corporate customers. We’ve sold, I don’t know, 350 million handsets in the past. There were something like 50,000 enterprise customers around the world using our servers and software. When I came in, we were trying to introduce yet another set of software, different from the old, that meant corporate customers had to run both the old and new software for all their devices to work. That was very surprising to me. This problem should be solved on November 13, when we release our new server, BES 12. It’s going to be an extremely robust and highly secure server that manages everything—iPhones, iPads, Androids, Windows, old BlackBerrys and new. I’m collapsing the old infrastructure and the new infrastructure into one."
    He said that a year ago. And here we are. Enterprise Security is the new BlackBerry.



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