Android Enterprise Recommended is a validation programme offered by Google for devices, vendors and partners launched in February 2018. The program currently focuses on devices and EMMs, but will continue to extend out to carriers and MSPs in 2019.
The goal behind Android Enterprise Recommended devices is to provide a simple, Google-recommended list of devices that meet a set of elevated enterprise-grade requirements. In doing this, there are benefits for both organisations choosing devices for business and the OEMs that take part.
Devices submitted for certification will be thoroughly tested against Google’s established best practices and common requirements. Some of those include:
- Minimum hardware specifications for Android 7.0+ devices
- Support for bulk deployment of Android devices including zero-touch enrolment
- Delivery of Android security updates within 90 days of release from Google, for a minimum of three years (or 5 years for rugged)
- Availability of unlocked devices, direct from manufacturer or reseller
- Consistent application experience in managed proﬁles and on managed devices
- IP64 certified ingress protection (rugged)
.. and more. The full list of requirements can be found here.
This certification process is per-device rather than per-OEM, meaning each individual device an OEM releases will need to be tested and certified. This is important as an OEM can release devices targeting many audiences, such as HMD Global with their Nokia 1 and Nokia 2 or Samsung with their Galaxy J1; these are not intended for enterprise use and as such wouldn’t make sense to suggest otherwise with an OEM AER badge.
When buying devices for enterprise use, organisations need only look for the Android Enterprise Recommended badge to know the devices have been thoroughly vetted against the above (and more) best practices and requirements from the company that develops Android and the Android Enterprise solution. It’ll help to ensure organisations align expectations (and potentially budgets) accordingly to ensure the devices being considered will:
- Be supported by the OEM for software/security patching for 3 years (or 5 for rugged)
- Meet the demands of typical enterprise use without worry of slowdown, incompatibility or other potential concerns
- Be available for purchase through multiple channels
- Act and behave reliably when being provisioned as a fully managed or work profile device
- Support Android zero-touch enrolment
Since the introduction of Android Enterprise Recommended, over 70 additional devices (Jan 2019) have been added to the line-up, including from Sony, Nokia, Zebra, BQ, Motorola and more. There are, and will continue to be, more added on a regular basis.
Notably absent from the program are Samsung. Samsung are not joining the programme at this time despite invitation from Google.
More information can be found on this dedicated article.
Just as AER for OEMs set out to create a benchmark against which devices should meet or exceed in order to guarantee a consistent, reliable experience for management, AER for EMMs aims to do something similar.
To summarise the requirements for EMMs:
- Support advanced management of two of the three widely utilised deployment scenarios (COPE isn’t included, yet)
- Clearly demonstrate knowledge and capability of supporting the solution
- Proven ability to deliver advanced security and management features
- Offer a consistent deployment experience, with admin consoles that simplify set-up of Android Enterprise
In a nutshell, Google are going to validate EMMs who demonstrably put Android Enterprise front-and-centre over legacy management, have a healthy install base and can lean on excellent product knowledge, useful collateral and confidently sell the solution to the market. The obvious difference when compared to AER for devices is that it isn’t purely about feature support as such, even though that certainly forms part of the wider validation, but the whole experience of working with an EMM.
Validated vendors will receive their own badge for marketing and promotional purposes to demonstrate heightened compatibility with Android Enterprise.
More information is available on this dedicated article.
Finally, Google will be introducing a validation program for partners and systems integrators. Details of this are currently unavailable but will be updated here in future.