Are multiple versions of Android really a big problem in the enterprise?

Mobile first in enterprise mobility CSC Blogs

Google’s annual mega-conference for developers, Google I/O, kicks off today. Rather than write a post about what to expect at the show based on what I’ve read elsewhere, I’ll write something next week about what actually happened at the conference (based on what I read elsewhere).

For now, though, I want to focus on the search giant’s Android mobile operating system, specifically within the enterprise. In his own Google I/O advance published on recode, Mark Bergen argues that the long delay before most Android phones get the latest version of the mobile O/S — resulting in activated Android devices running multiple versions of KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, etc. — is “Google’s biggest problem.”

“The fact that only a slim chunk of Androids use the latest operating system is a nagging issue for Google,” Bergen writes. “Only 7.5 percent of phones use Marshmallow, the version released last year. That’s a slip from last year, when 9.7 percent where using Lollipop, the then-current version ahead of I/O.”

Android fragmentation has been a topic since the second version of Android was released. While an annoyance to consumers eager to get the latest version of Android onto their mobile devices, fragmentation has been viewed as an obstacle to Android buy-in from enterprises.

“Adoption of the latest version of Android isn’t just about getting the latest features; it’s also about getting the latest bug fixes and security updates,” writes Simon Hill at Digital Trends.

And that’s a concern for enterprise IT pros trying to keep data, networks and devices safe from hackers and other bad actors. To overcome enterprise resistance, Google has made efforts to minimize the impact of fragmentation. Hill notes:

“A lot of new features and security updates actually come through Google Play Services now, which is updated independently of the platform. The Material Design libraries and guidelines were designed to create a uniform look and feel across the platform.”

All of which leads to my big question: How much of a problem do the multiple versions of Android create for your enterprise?

Oh, I’m not done with the questions: Have you experienced security breaches because of Android fragmentation? Do the multiple versions used by your workforce create administrative hassles? Do they make it harder for employees to collaborate or share data?

What’s happening on the ground, in the real world? I and other readers would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

RELATED LINKS

Is Android finally penetrating the enterprise market?

Android Multitasking flaw poses risks to data theft and DoS attacks

The high cost of gaps in enterprise mobility

Comments

  1. I thought Android for work is all about overcoming that obstacle. No?

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  1. […] some people argue that Google’s biggest problem in the enterprise is Android fragmentation, Hammond points to […]

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