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Google drops 'Android for Work' name

Android for Work is no more — in name only.

When Google debuted its secure containerization APIs in 2015, the “Android for Work” name identified which devices shipped with these capabilities and which did not. But now that most Android devices come with these features, Google has eliminated the “Android for Work” branding.

Recognizing Android for Work as part of the operating system is a small gesture, but it will help combat the notion that Android by itself isn’t enterprise-ready.

“We think this change better reflects the built-in nature of enterprise features of Android and our commitment to enterprise mobility,” Google said in a blog post.

The cost for organizations to use Android for Work will not change in light of the rebranding, the company said.

Android for Work features a set of APIs that separate business applications and data from personal assets on a device, allowing IT to manage solely the corporate assets. Users can almost seamlessly move between their work and personal profiles, but they can’t move business data into — or access work apps from — their personal profiles.

The rebranding is Google’s latest move in its push to get serious about Android in the enterprise. In May, the company announced support for the AppConfig Community, a consortium of vendors that promote the use of mobile operating systems’ built-in enterprise mobility management (EMM) capabilities. Most leading EMM vendors are AppConfig members, and the two that aren’t — Microsoft and Citrix — also support Android for Work.

Android 7.0 Nougat, which came out in August, introduced several new Android for Work security features, including always-on VPN capabilities and more granular controls over business apps.

Google also launched a new website to showcase Android’s enterprise potential. The site emphasizes Android’s security features and integration with Google’s machine learning and analytics capabilities, and it highlights case studies from organizations in the retail, healthcare and manufacturing verticals.

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Where does this leave Samsung with Knox?
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Knox is still a viable option, particularly for organizations that have standardized on Samsung devices. 
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