Google's Android is the most popular mobile OS in the world but it doesn't have a particularly great track record when it comes to long-term software upgrades and regular security updates. Apart from Google's own Pixel range and a couple of phones from HMD Global and Motorola, OEMs rarely push out Android OTAs after 24 months of launch. For the enterprise market, all that is set to change as Google launches its new 'Android Enterprise Recommended' programme. Phones under this programme can expected to get monthly security updates, within 90 days of release, for a minimum of three years.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Google announced the enterprise-focused Android Enterprise Recommended programme for devices that are said to meet "an elevated set of specifications for hardware, deployment, security updates, and user experience" helping businesses protect sensitive information from external threats. OEMs that are part of the programme will receive an enhanced level of training and device support from Google.
The programme requires smartphones to run Android 7.0 Nougat and above, have support for zero-touch enrolment (only on Android Oreo), provide the above-mentioned mandatory delivery of Android security updates within 90 days of release (for a minimum 3 years), have availability of unlocked devices, and apply a consistent application experience across different user profiles.
Minimum hardware requirements of the Android Enterprise Recommended programme include 2GB RAM, 32GB inbuilt storage, a 1.4GHz SoC, over 8 hours of battery life, 64-bit architecture, 2-megapixel front camera, and a 10-megapixel rear camera.
At launch, Google is partnering with numerous OEMs to get several smartphone variants onboard with the programme. The list includes:
- BlackBerry KEYone and Motion
- Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL
- Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite, and P smart
- LG V30 and G6
- Motorola X4 and Z2
- Nokia 8
- Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ1 Compact, XZ Premium, XA2, and XA2 Ultra
The tech giant states that the list will be updated with more variants in the coming weeks and months. The company is looking to extend the Android Enterprise Recommended framework to partners like mobile carriers, OEMs of rugged devices, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) providers, and systems integrators.
"Mobility has been critical to digital transformation for enterprises. We have listened to our customers and partners, and believe that the Android Enterprise Recommended program will help simplify and add confidence to decision making, allowing global IT leaders to focus more on their core business," said David Still, Director at Android Enterprise.