Google Buys Divide - What Does It Mean?

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In a recent post on Android Central Leaving the Site Icon,  I compared how Android supports Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Mobile Device Management (MDM). We saw that out-of-the-box Android does not really address the enterprise very well, and that it is left up to manufacturers like Samsung with KNOX. Today that seems to have changed.

What Is Divide?

Divide is a "work container" or "work persona." Normally when you activate your Android device against an MDM system, restrictions and controls are placed on your device, for example, forcing you to set a device password. When you use a work container like Divide, you activate your work container against an MDM system, instead of your device.

What this means is that all of the restrictions and policies are applied to the work container and not your device. Your IT administrator can send a remote wipe command, and now instead of your whole device being wiped, only the work container is wiped.

Divide
 

Divide also emulates the Android Home screen, including multiple panes, and the Launcher so your experience as a user remains the same no matter if you are in the work container (or work persona) or your regular device persona.

Take a look at how it works here.Leaving the Site Icon

The benefit of a work persona, or work container, is that the employee keeps his or her personal device untouched by IT. The employee can also choose between work and play, instead of both work and play being mixed up in the same Inbox, Calendar, and Contacts.

When you install and start using Divide, you immediately have access to a personal web management console that shows you information about your device, and how much data is used, how many voice minutes are used, and how many text messages are sent and received, broken up by personal and work. Your IT administrator has a management console to set IT policies, group users together, and manage the work persona on each device.

Today Divide supports iOS and Android and is aimed at companies who adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) policy.

Does This Mean Android Is Now Enterprise Ready?

Details of what will happen now that Divide is part of Google are unclear. The press release doesn't provide much information. There are some scenarios we could consider though.

Google may make Divide available as an option when companies want to deploy Android in the enterprise. With this option, Divide won't be built into Android, but rather will be an option that companies can make use of if they adopt a BYOD policy.

Google may make Divide part of Android in a future release. If they do this, then all versions of Android will automatically be enterprise ready, as long as those enterprises adopt a BYOD or COPE policy. If Google does this, I think it will be a direct play to marginalize Samsung KNOX. Today Samsung heavily modifies Android to include its add-ons and include a work container called KNOX. If Android comes with Divide built-in, people may not need KNOX.

I think that no matter which option Google goes with, it does mean that they have the options on-hand to make Android enterprise friendly at the source.

I will continue to follow the developments on this story as more details emerge.

What do you think about Google buying Divide? Is this Google blocking Samsung? Is this a good move for Google to make Android enterprise friendly at the source? What do you think Google will do with Divide's iOS support?

Post Date: 5/29/2014

default blog image Craig Johnston

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