The Next Web picks up on a piece by The Information (sub. required) to report that Google is developing business-friendly features for Android to give its mobile OS a push into the enterprise. Among other things, Google hopes to strengthen data encryption, boost support for apps that require extra authentication, and create new APIs to help IT workers manage data and apps more easily. The features are expected to be included in the next version of Android (succeeding KitKat), which is likely to be introduced in June.
BlackBerry’s dominance in the mobile enterprise has waned dramatically in the BYOD era, of course, but fragmentation and security concerns have limited Android’s appeal in that market, and Apple has capitalized. Samsung — which remains the biggest manufacturer of Android devices — is moving aggressively to tap the enterprise with Knox, its line of Android-based, business-class devices and services. But Knox has been plagued by bugs and delays, The Wall Street Journal reported in December, leaving potential customers frustrated. If Google can bring an enterprise-friendly version of Android to market in the next several months, it could be a huge boon for its other manufacturing partners — and a blow to Samsung.