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How Android Enterprise Recommended is shaping mobile device purchase decisions

The Google-backed program is changing enterprise mobility for the better.

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Choosing the right mobile devices to equip your team with is a critical business decision. Some enterprises embrace choice, giving their employees the freedom to bring their own devices to work. Others opt for the consistency of fully managed, company-owned devices that are issued directly to their teams.

The key to making it simple for IT departments is finding devices that use a consistent deployment scheme, streamlined management, and maintain a steady security update cadence.

The Android Enterprise Recommended program has distinguished itself as a key driver of how companies select devices, with 56%[1] of purchase decision makers saying that they would now only choose Android Enterprise Recommended devices.

Simplifying device choice in the Android ecosystem

Android Enterprise Recommended provides a Google-curated selection of traditional smartphones, rugged devices, and tablets. To be included in the program, devices must meet specialized hardware, software, and management criteria.

The program launched in February 2018 with 22 devices and has since expanded with other form factors and OEMs. Among the key requirements are that devices be available unlocked, receive at least one major Android operating system update, and be eligible for enrollment through zero-touch or a QR code. Altogether, the various pieces of the program make it easier for companies to find the right mobile devices for their business with peace of mind around important quality aspects.

The exact details vary depending on whether the device is intended for knowledge workers or for rugged environments. For example, while both kinds of devices require at least 2 GB of RAM, knowledge worker devices require a battery that lasts a full work day as well as quality front and rear cameras.

According to research from IDC[2], three months after the launch of Android Enterprise Recommended, devices from the program were being used by over a third of European enterprises, and 82% of Android Enterprise Recommended users believe their devices are more enterprise-grade and secure compared to other devices.

This confidence indicates that the program is delivering what customers are after: the assurance of elevated enterprise standards while having the flexibility to choose the right device type for their business.

Rugged Devices

When the work needs to get done at construction sites, warehouses, workshop floors, and other tougher environments, companies turn to a specialized class of rugged devices. These devices must pass four-foot drop tests and have ingress protection certification, along with the other features that are offered through more traditional devices.

The expansion of the program into the rugged space comes at the right time to match an important mobility trend. According to IDC[3], Android is on pace to become the largest rugged OS by shipments next year, growing at 23 percent (Compound Annual Growth Rate) over the next five years, more than 5x the rate of the rugged device market overall.

Conclusion

Overall, the Android Enterprise Recommended program has the potential to be a strong breakthrough for businesses that want greater assurance in choosing the right mobile devices for their business, whatever the environment and use case. Businesses should give it a serious look as part of their enterprise mobility efforts.

[1] HMD Global survey of 500 purchase decision makers from France, Germany, Italy, UK and Spain, July 2018

[2]IDC - 2018 European Enterprise Mobility Survey (May 2018)

[3] IDC - Worldwide Rugged Mobile Device Forecast, 2018-2022 Doc # US43301318 (March 2018)

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