Is 2012 the Year Android Invades the Enterprise?

Courtesy of the consumer, large-scale deployments of Android phones and, yes, tablets are coming next year. But the Android platform still has a ways to go before it's enterprise-ready, putting CIOs in a tough spot.

Tue, November 22, 2011

CIO — For CIOs, the year 2012 will be one of huge opportunity and incredible risk as Android phones and tablets drive deeper into the enterprise, mobile device experts say. CIOs will be in a bit of a bind with employees pressuring IT to support new-fangled consumer devices that may not be enterprise-ready.

First, the opportunity.

Android Rocketing to the Enterprise

The big reason employees want Android devices, iPhones and particularly iPads is because they know they can do their jobs better with them. Smart CIOs will cut through the confusion and see the iPad for what it is: an opportunity to break out of the technical trappings that have isolated IT from the business side for decades.

"Some of the best of us will say good riddance" to the old ways, Aaron Freimark, IT director at Apple services firm Tekserve, which helps Fortune 1000 companies adopt the iPad, told me recently. "Now we're able to concentrate on having people be productive with technology."

Slideshow: 15 Ways iPad Goes to Work

Android devices are following the same rocket trajectory to the enterprise as the iPhone. Mobile device management vendor MobileIron claims it has gained 1,000 new enterprise customers in the last 10 months. At least 50 percent of MobileIron's customer base is deploying Android devices, mostly in pilot programs. (Today, Apple claims nine out of 10 Fortune 400 companies are deploying or testing iPhones and iPads.)

"As companies prep for 2012, we're expecting increased pressure to adopt Android," says Ojas Rege, vice president of products at MobileIron. "There will be a spike of Android devices coming to the enterprise after the holidays and a spike in the second half of the year as more devices are upgraded."

That is, fired-up Android owners will help push Android devices currently in pilot stage to large-scale enterprise deployment next year. All of which begs the question: Are Android devices ready?

Not really.

Story of 2011: Mobile Malware

The openness of the Android platform, along with the many flavors of the OS, hardware devices, and carrier configurations, come together to create a rich breeding ground for malware—despite claims to the contrary by Chris DiBona, Google's open-source programs manager. Trend Micro, for instance, reported a whopping 1,410 percent increase in the number of Android threats from January to July this year.

"Google's Android OS has become a malware magnet," writes blogger Constantine von Hoffman. "Its dominance as a smartphone platform is turning it into a much bigger security risk compared to Apple's iPhone."

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