Continuing the “season of mobile OS updates” and after last week news and buzz about Apple, this week Google and Samsung finally announced the awaited Android 4.0 (codename Ice Cream Sandwich or ICS) and the first device running it. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, available next month in some countries.
- Redesigned user interface (Roboto font)
- Better multitasking / notifications
- “Android Beam” - NFC support (Near Field Communications)
- “Face Unlock” - face recognition via the front-facing camera
- Camera application - now has panorama feature and Apple like features
- Voice input engine – Just as good as Apple Siri?
- Visual voicemail
- New E-mail features:
- Unified calendar
- Supports nested mail subfolders, each with synchronization rules
- Server search across folders
- Support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) v14 (Exchange Server 2010)
- EAS certificate authentication
- Provides Allow/Block/Quarantine (ABQ) strings for device type and mode
- Automatic sync to be disabled while roaming
- Limit attachment size or disable attachments
- Native Wi-Fi Direct support (access point-less connectivity)
- New keychain API and underlying encrypted storage
- Provides address space layout randomization (ASLR) to help protect system and third party applications from exploitation due to memory-management issues.
- New VPN API and underlying secure credential storage
- Remotely disable the camera
At a quick glance it appears to be a good (yet small) incremental list of enterprise support and much needed security and ActiveSync features. I wouldn’t expect many of the older devices to have upgrades provided by OEMs and Mobile Operators, but really hope that some of the more recent devices receive upgrades.
It will be interesting to see what and how the various 3rd party, MDM vendors and OEM extenders (think 3LM) will follow suit in the following months with support. I suspect the OEM vendors will continue to announce new devices with Android 4.0 as quickly as possible and hopefully (please, pretty please!) potential device upgrades..
I believe Android 4 could be a good new minimum bar for OS level compliancy for corporate enterprises. All the encryption goodness finally is finally present on the smartphone side and not just the tablet side of the Android story. But it may take a long time (6+ months in todays hectic mobility ecosystem?) before there is enough device support to raise the bar.. In the mean time it appears the MDM vendors are definitely catching up in their Android support.
In other news, in case you missed it the other week from the CTIA show, Samsung announced further Enterprise support in their SAFE (Samsung Approved For Enterprise) certification program:
Several MDM vendors have already announced their partnership with Samsung on this, Sybase, SOTI and MobileIron so far. Also Cisco, Juniper and Citrix are included to make it easier to make corporate network connectivity.
Unclear how some of this overlaps Android 4.0, but assume Samsung will continue to provide value to distinguish themselves from other Android OEMs mostly in the 3LM camp.
It appears that a new iPCU release finally has hit.
The Apple download page for it isn’t quite updated yet, and their documentation page is not updated yet either..
It is available for download here. Updated documentation is available here.
But I can confirm that it has the settings to disable iCloud, so the MDM vendors should be able to do the same..
More information can be found here: http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/.
How iOS 5 Could Affect Your Devices
On October 4 Apple announced plans to release the iOS 5 update on October 12, 2011 at midnight PST.
As with previous OS updates it is expected that new devices procured shortly after the release will soon be pre-installed with iOS 5 instead of iOS 4.3.2.
Legally you won’t be able to downgrade newly procured devices from iOS 5 back to iOS 4.3.2. This may also impact old devices that are sent to Apple repair, which may return upgraded.
This may impact applications, automated MDM rules, and end-user support.
Testing iOS 5
I urge all iOS customers to quickly and thoroughly test and validate that all their business applications run on iOS 5, with functionality retained.
Most ISVs have been testing iOS 5 during the beta cycle and have updated the Apple AppStore with the updated software versions. After the final iOS 5 release is obtained and validated, they may need to update their applications in the AppStore. Third-party application development firms that build custom applications may also need to go through a similar process and customers obtain updated application binaries.
A high-level overview of new features provided in iOS 5 can be found here: http://www.apple.com/ios/features.html
To install iOS 5 on compatible iPhone, iPod and iPads hardware, tether the device to a Mac or PC that is running iTunes and follow the upgrade prompts.
Please note that some of your end-users that will perform this on upgrade on their own, on the first day the software is available so be alert!
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Many MDM vendors are preparing new versions of their products to add additional functionality and validated iOS 5 support.
Until iOS 5 is released on October 12, MDM vendors cannot publically disclose what new MDM features it provides or what they will support. This is mandated by a separate NDA they have signed.
Because you may not be able to update your MDM solution before the iOS 5 release, I strongly recommend that you have any iOS access version controls verified and possibly disabled if necessary to permit new iOS 5 upgraded devices to connect and access business critical functions.
Apple iCloud is a new feature that will enable syncing of photos, music, and documents between multiple devices. Applications present on the AppStore will not be backed up, but instead they will automatically become re-downloaded from the AppStore if your device is restored from your iCloud backup. Every Apple ID will receive 5 Gb of storage free of charge. iCloud does not support multiple Apple IDs if used on the device for personal and corporate applications.
We do not know yet whether it will be possible to manage the iCloud features or settings from an iOS 5 supported MDM solution.
The iOS 5 release is the first iOS version that can provide over-the-air (OTA) updating of the OS itself. This will be advantageous to most enterprise customers as it eliminates the need to keep devices tethered to a Mac or PC to retrieve updates.
Apple has not announced whether there will be any future MDM settings to control the OTA update functionality. Some enterprise customers may want to control the flow of updates and ensure production support.
Cross posted from the Enterprise Mobile posting, iOS 5 Release – Technical Services Bulletin.
One of my coworkers forwarded me a few excellent links on emulator compilations that are currently available..
I wasn’t aware of the breath of emulators now available for the various platforms. These are mostly important for application developers, but some might prove useful in the enterprise space when testing applications/websites on device/platforms not readily available to you. Some may be web browser emulators only. I have not had the chance to test them all out..
Some of interest are:
- OS: Windows Mobile (as blogged about in the far past), Windows Phone
- OEMs: Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, RIM
- Browsers: Opera, Firefox, i-mode (test your web sites)
- Resellers: Barnes and Noble Nook
- Platforms: Samsung Bada, Qualcomm Brew
Some of these may require a login be created to the various vendor websites:
Even if some of the links may be broken, there should be enough details to hunt down the emulator through other means.. :-)