June 3, 2015 // By Norton Lam
I had the pleasure of attending Google I/O this year.
As usual, the conference was full of big announcements and cool technologies. Whether you are part of an enterprise, a developer, or a consumer, there was something there for you.
In recent years, Google has used I/O to announce their next major Android OS release; this year was no exception. Sundar Pichai, VP of Products, announced the preview release of Android M. The new version of Android touts a number of interesting features, but some are more applicable to enterprises than others.
Samsung jumped on the fingerprint verification bandwagon shortly after Apple announced the addition to their iPhone 5s. However, Android support has not been there. Google has now standardized the API for fingerprint authorization across all Android devices with Android M.
Now with Apple and Google supporting fingerprint authentication, we can expect to see a lot more hardware support and resulting consumer demand in the next few years. Enterprises will want to strongly consider fingerprint authentication, but keep an eye on its effectiveness and the security challenges before committing too many resources to it. It may take some time to mature.
For consumer apps, companies sometime struggle to find new customers and get new installs. App indexing now allows an app to be found via Google Search. Tight integration into the app is now possible with deep links to spur more user engagement. Companies catering to consumers should take advantage of these new features to increase exposure and expand their user base.
Android app permissions have been somewhat meaningless because they are requested upon app install. Either they are ignored and users don’t know what they are accepting or apps don’t get installed because cautious users don’t like one particular permission in the slew they are asked to approve.
Google has now adopted the iOS way of doing permissions where specific permissions are asked for upon use. Permissions will be asked for at least twice: Initially upon first use and then confirmed when the feature is used again. It’s that second time that users will be given a “Don’t ask again” option. Being asked more than once may become an annoyance so it is yet to be seen if that change in the future.
Whether an enterprise is publishing an app for internal employees or customers, it would be prudent to download and install the preview release of M to make sure your app is compatible. Google usually does a good job of backward compatibility, but it never hurts to mitigate the risk. Experience shows that incompatibilities come more from manufacturer and carrier-specific updates and, unfortunately, those versions won’t be out for several months.
Enterprises should test early and often as updates are made available. The Android M preview is available now for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 devices.
Interested in how these new Android changes affect your enterprises mobility roadmap? Talk to the mobility experts at Magenic by emailing us or calling us at 877-277-1044.