In an enterprise setting, users have become accustomed to being handed a laptop that is configured, has all the permissions and access levels it needs, and all the software necessary for day-to-day work. Why should a smartphone or tablet be any different?

Zenprise has introduced something fairly revolutionary in this regard with the Android Enterprise Application Store. The concept is what Zenprise calls "the first Android enterprise app store." What it basically means is that IT will be able to push relevant applications to users so the minute they start up a company smartphone or tablet, the programs they need are right at their fingertips.

Additionally, the app store lets you set up groups—for example, you could configure it so that any tablet that is configured as part of the "marketing group" will automatically get a certain set of apps. You can do the same thing with documents, meaning you can easily push a PowerPoint slide to the 25 individuals in sales with a few clicks. (You can also import your Active Directory groups into Zenprise for quick classification.)

This whole vision assumes to some extent that your company is "on board" with the idea that smartphones and tablets (sponsored by the company) are the wave of the future. It makes sense if either (1) the majority of your organization is equipped with mobile devices or (2) at least one or more departments are equipped with said devices.

Zenprise has also announced remote control for Android, which essentially gives the same remote control capabilities the company has already offered for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. 

Key new features of the solution include:

  • Task manager - Zenprise introduces a task manager very similar to that in Windows, so you can quickly troubleshoot an Android user's problem and see if an app has stalled (or if they just had 10 apps running in the background, which would explain slow performance).
  • Chat - IM from your PC with an Android user in case a phone call isn't realistic (e.g., the user is in a meeting).
  • Remote reboot for a user's device.
  • Remote control for Android devices to troubleshoot problems.
  • Push documents to the device on an individual basis or based on groups.
  • Users don't have to go to the marketplace, at least for applications required for work. Users might still want games or other fun apps for home use, but you could choose to block network access and only install apps based on request, if you're concerned about security and the many sketchy apps on the Android Marketplace.

The features I have outlined have been rolled up as part of the existing Zenprise product and are compatible with all versions of Android 1.6 and up. To learn more about pricing or other details, visit the company's website

Follow Brian Reinholz on Twitter @breinholz 

 

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