Android for Work review

Android for Work introduces some brilliant mobile device management features but feels rough around the edges

We were surprised to find that our fully updated LG G3 running Android 5.0 was unable to create an Android for Work profile due to its apparent lack of managed profile support. Unfortunately, we've yet to find a list of which Android 5.0 and 5.1 devices currently support managed accounts. If you have a Lollypop device without managed profile support, you can still add your work account as a standard second Google account.

If your phone or tablet runs Android 4.0 to 4.4, which lack managed profile support, there's an installation method involving a third-party app, Divide, and a Google Apps for Work app. Configuration is more complicated for the user, but doesn't depend on a feature that they may or may not have.

The last stage of any device management review is to see how easy it is to remove the management tools from a phone. Users can unregister their own devices via the Device Policy app, which cleanly removes all Android for Work apps. However, when we carried out a remote account wipe on our Nexus 4, the apps were all left behind, with the user unable to log into them, but also unable to manually delete them. If you want to easily disentangle departing staff members' BYOD hardware from your Google Apps environment, this isn't ideal.

Conclusion

Android for Work marks a big step forward when it comes to allowing your staff to use their own mobile devices for work, without having to sacrifice either the security of your data or have a major impact on their ability to use their personal phones and tablets as they please. However, its usefulness is currently limited by the restricted range of devices that actually support it, and its remote account removal isn't as clean as we'd like.

Verdict

It’s inevitable that Android for Work will become an essential tool for business device management, and we look forward to its future development. However, although work profiles are useful, we’d be inclined to wait for the next update rather than rolling Android for Work’s full features out to staff at the earliest possible opportunity.

Device Requirements: Android 5.0+ with managed profile support, Android 4.0-4.4 with Divide and Android for Work apps

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