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Google outs Android for Work to make phones and tablets office-friendly

Google has revealed how it intends to shore up Android devices to make it easier for smartphone and tablet owners to use them securely in the workplace.

During an event in San Francisco on Wednesday (via Gigaom), the company has revealed more details regarding the Android for Work initiative, announced last summer.

On Android Lollipop, Android for Work allows employers to create a secure profile featuring all of the users’ essential apps in order to “isolate and protect data and manage the flow of work information.”

This will allow IT administrators to manage all of the business data on Android phones, while users can continue to access personal apps like Facebook, games and email without incursion.

For those users with handsets running older versions of Android (i.e. the vast majority of the user base right now), Google is releasing an Android for Work app that’ll do the same job.

There’ll also be a Play For Work store where companies will be able to manage which apps employees can download and use with their Work profile. The company’s own productivity apps like Drive, Docs and Gmail will also be deployed in ‘For Work’ flavours.

Google isn’t just doing it alone either. It has snagged leading partners like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Adobe, Box, Salesforce, Cisco and Citrix.

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The platform could be a major breakthrough for Google as it seeks to leverage the popularity of Android for the enterprise market.

Until now companies’ IT departments have been wary of allowing employees to make use of their Android devices for work purposes.

The open nature of Android makes it more susceptible to spying than Apple’s locked down iOS and the Fort Knox-like security that made Blackberry the de facto choice for business phones for so many years.

Google hopes Android for Work will change that, allowing users to bring the billion or so Android devices into the office.

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