back to article Android finally shows up for work, app in hand

Google has finally published its BYOD app, Android for Work, adding to the already schizophrenic work-life balance environment for the devices. The software has just popped up on Google Play, where it’s described thus: The Android for Work app provides the ultimate solution to get work done on your Android device and …

  1. bazza Silver badge

    BlackBerry Balance Clone...

    ...but probably not as good as BlackBerry's.

    If Android for Work can present all your calendars (work and home) together in a single view, and all your emails (work and non-work) in one view, and allow copy/paste in one direction but not the other, then perhaps Google are beginning to get the right idea.

  2. Test Man

    Something missing from the article is that the app is for Android 4.x only. Android 5.x has no need for the app because the support is already built-in.

  3. JamesJFoley

    The Missing Piece

    The problem with ALL these BYOD / Dual Persona solutions to date, including this latest Google offering, is that, at best, they only address half the problem.

    What's the point of using your own personal smartphone for work if, when you make a call, you have to reveal your personal mobile number? What happens then - customers, suppliers, even recruiters then have your personal mobile number to harass you long after you've left the office. Maybe even after you;ve left the company.....

    So far, the major MDM vendors (of which Google is now a serious contender) have focused exclusively on separating the 'data' elements of BYOD - ensuring that your business Apps can be separated from your personal Apps, and that you can easily connect to the corporate network for email etc etc.

    But, until individuals can also separate the 'voice' element of BYOD then it's only half a solution. What's needed is the ability to support two mobile numbers on a single smartphone - one for friends and family to use, one for business. These solutions are starting to come to market - such as the new smartnumbers mobile service - but until they are adopted then at best an organisation will be going down their BYOD path half-cocked.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: The Missing Piece

      "What's the point of using your own personal smartphone for work if, when you make a call, you have to reveal your personal mobile number? What happens then - customers, suppliers, even recruiters then have your personal mobile number to harass you long after you've left the office. Maybe even after you've left the company....."

      Perhaps this article BlackBerry buys service that lets you have two numbers on one smartphone will prove to be interesting reading.

      Of course we're in danger of entering a world of madness here. 4G is IP, and voice calls on 4G have to be synthesized using VOIP technology. So we could be in a place where we look up a contact in an address book, dial their number, the call gets routed as a voice call to a 4G network, it gets turned into a VOIP stream, then gets presented as phone call again with the caller ID presented as a phone number which gets looked up in an address book to discover who it was that is calling.

      So what's wrong with everyone just using Skype (or whatever) for everything which would then eradicate all the pointless intermediate transitions?! If it were possible to run two copies of Skype (or whatever), then that would solve the problem you describe without any additional cocking about with complicated bodges on existing telephony protocols!

    2. midcapwarrior

      Re: The Missing Piece

      It's called Skype/Lync or just about any VOIP application.

      Use the Skype for business. Direct dial for all others.

      1. JamesJFoley

        Re: The Missing Piece

        Sorry, but Lync / Skype / Jabber etc just don't cut it for business. The problem with Skype /Lync / Jabber or any of these IP clients is that not only do they they demand a good IP connection, but suffer from common problems associated with this;

        - Little good consistent wifi coverage when outdoors.

        - Poor to zero handover between wifi zones

        - Impossible to achieve consistent IP signal when travelling

        - Wifi calls get dropped when GSM calls are presented

        - Wifi hijacking as you pass your friendly coffee-shop - tries to log you in, fails, and drops your calls in the process etc etc etc

        I struggle to get consistent wifi / IP coverage in the office, let alone walking down the street - which for a *mobile* phone (the clue is in the name) is essential.

        So, until we can fast-forward 5 years from now and VoLTE has the equivalent coverage as GSM in the UK, then the only business-class solution has to be GSM. Sorry, but IP just doesn't cut it for business (although Skype is great for stationary calls when in a good office wifi-zone, or for speaking to Auntie Doris).

        The challenge is therefore, how to achieve two GSM numbers on one mobile without having to be limited to the tiny number of handsets that support two SIMs ? A new class of services like smartnumbers mobile can achieve this, and once in place then BYOD can finally become a reality.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Missing Piece

      Dual sim phones. Plenty of android phones support it.

      Next ticket.

    4. Malcolm 1

      Re: The Missing Piece

      I'm sure you used to be able to do this on Nokias of yore with a single SIM card. I wonder if it will return as a feature with VoLTE given that is essentially ip based anyway?

    5. DaLo

      Re: The Missing Piece

      It's possible for your network provider to do this for you. I'm not sure if any do but Orange in the UK, about 20 years ago used to have a service called "Line 2" which associated a second number to your handset which you could log in and out of. An incon=ming call would show which line was ringing and you could put one on DND etc

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Missing Piece

      No descent phones with dual SIM? I'm running the Huawei Ascend Mate 7, seriously nice handset. Only downside is that you have to choose between a second SIM or a MicroSD card. I opt for the added storage myself.

  4. Nelbert Noggins

    Or make dual sim phones widely available instead of keeping them restricted to either crappy phones or emerging markets.

    Allow one sim to be assigned to the personal partition and another to the business.

    I have to wonder if the main fear about making good dual sim phones widely available is the loss of revenue by the networks when we keep our home country sim and drop in a payg local country sim beside it. It removes any chance of them reaming us on roaming data and call charges.

  5. bazza Silver badge

    "Or make dual sim phones widely available instead of keeping them restricted to either crappy phones or emerging markets."

    Actually that doesn't work so well. Dual SIM phones generally cannot use both at once, you have to switch between them and use one at a time. There's only one set of radio hardware in the phone. It doesn't work well because if you're switched to one SIM people cannot call you on the other SIM's number until you change over.

    If there were two sets of radio hardware then it would be like having two separate phones, twice the power consumption, etc. Feasible, but not very good either.

    Sorting out the duality back in the network (like BlackBerry would seem to be planning on doing with that company acquisition) is the better way. Minimum hardware and power consumption in the mobile, all the clever stuck in the network. Hell, you could have all sorts of phone numbers!

    Skype is quite good because it already does this kind of thing, for a fee. Skype In can give you a number anywhere in the world, and can give you multiple numbers too. Only thing it won't do as far as I can tell is let you make a phone call back out through those Skype In numbers.

  6. Triggerfish

    Best way to seperate work and personal data

    Make work pay for any bloody devices they want you to use.

    1. JamesJFoley

      Re: Best way to seperate work and personal data

      My company used to provide me with a dedicated mobile phone for business use, but guess what - I had to always carry two phones around. That was one pain in the backside, since as a guy I'm not used to carrying handbags so fitting two phones into my jeans or jacket wasn't good, and the charging headaches of keeping two phones charged just doubled.

      Furthermore, the phone that work provided me with wasn't a particularly good one, so I ended up making most of my work calls on my shiny new iPhone since it was the one that was always at hand, and lo and behold, my customers started calling me back on my personal phone...

      So, even though my employer was good to provide me with a second phone, what I really wanted was to have a single phone (my shiny new iPhone 6) with separate numbers for personal and business use. Doesn't a smart phone deserve a smart number ?

  7. tomwald

    Google not organised

    After Android for Work was announced I contacted Google to work out how to use it in my organisation. I found Google really disorganised, they couldn't supply anything concrete to tell you how to do anything useful, it was all sales guff from first level support people. I got through to a technical person eventually who was no more use.

    Give it a year and maybe they'll sort themselves out, and have information to make this possible for the average firm.

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