There's nothing like a good rumor about the next version of Android. As we approach I/O 2014, we're sure to hear more and more rumors, some true, many false. The Information - generally reliable in the arena of leaks and rumors - has published one of the first "L Release" rumors, today indicating that Android's next major version bump (which the publication speculates could arrive as soon as I/O) will help Google make headway into the corporate adoption arena, convincing companies to adopt Android phones rather than the iPhone (which has already made significant gains in enterprise) as employee handset of choice.
Many of the new Android-for-business features will be a part of the next version of Android, known internally as “L release,” that is expected to be unveiled at Google’s annual conference for software developers in June, though an earlier announcement is possible.
To accomplish this, the upcoming release - according to The Information's sources, who include someone involved with the effort and another person briefed on it - will carry additional security features for corporate managers, enabling those in charge to remotely wipe portions of a device that contain corporate information, while leaving personal settings and data intact. This is expected to be one part of a new group of APIs enabling new security tools to be utilized.
The Information also says that Google has been working with US chip makers and manufacturers to allow things like password storage on chips, and "stronger" data encryption.
For some of the new Android security features, Google has been working with U.S. chip makers and device manufacturers to allow for the storage of sensitive information like passwords on chips, where they are safe from hackers. Stronger data encryption is also part of the plan.
What's more, the Information notes that Google has considered a separate approval process for enterprise apps, and availability limited to employee devices. It isn't clear from the report how likely this process is to show up, but evidently Google has informed potential corporate customers of their intended changes.
Google also has considered a separate approval process for enterprise applications to make sure they are safe and a way for companies to offer certain apps on the Google Play app store but make them available only to their employees’ Android devices.
One more option may be the ability to choose specific apps that require additional authentication (like biometric readings) before an employee can use them.
With KNOX, Samsung has already begun trying to gain traction with enterprise buyers, but the security enhancements offered by KNOX are limited to select Samsung devices and as it stands, KNOX evidently doesn't satisfy security requirements for certain industries with strict compliance regulations like healthcare and finance.
If the Information's sources are correct and Google can pull off advanced security features in Android, available to all manufacturers making certified devices, it may just beat alternatives to the punch. If you've got access to the Information, check out the full story at the link below.
Source: The Information (Subscription required)