An Evolution: Android for Work vs Android Enterprise

We mentioned in our starter guide to Android device management how Android Enterprise has evolved over time. This article compares Android for work vs Android Enterprise and throws a little light on how mobile device management (MDM) has changed over the years.

Android Enterprise enables secure mobile working

Android for Work vs Android Enterprise

For many years before Android for Work’s arrival, the market was flooded with inconsistent management features from various Android vendors and app developers.

Aimed at ending this unsustainable situation and to catch up with Apple, Google announced Android for Work in 2014.

Android for Work initially referred to all devices shipped with Google’s secure containerization APIs for separating private and business apps and data. With this service, Google had created the groundwork for securely integrating Android devices into corporate IT on the basis of their native operating system functions.

The Frequently Changing World of MDM Terminology

After almost all Android devices had these functions however, Google abandoned the branding “Android for Work”.

Instead, in 2017 Google renamed the platform Android Enterprise and expanded it to include additional business features. Realistically though, as many businesses hadn’t signed up to the marketing newsletters of their MDM vendor or Google’s blog, plenty of them never got the message. Hence the confusing mix-up – there is no need for Android for Work vs Android Enterprise, they are the same platform.

The changes in MDM terminology has drawn a bit of criticism from some prominent commentators. Especially as many other areas have received rebranding too, like the replacement of the deployment acronyms “COPE” and COSU with the more wordy “work profiles on fully managed devices” or “dedicated device“.

Confusing Terminology, But Great Functionality

Nevertheless, Android Enterprise stands for a broad spectrum of security and management functions that enable the use of Android devices in everyday work. This free, mature enterprise platform that builds upon the great foundation of Android for Work, simplifies the integration of Android devices into MDM solutions. It also gives IT administrators on-demand control over Android enterprise devices.

Learn more about Android Enterprise and the best practices for device and application management in our white paper.

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