Google's Android Management API Exits Beta, Adds Features

Google has bolstered the capabilities of its Android Management APITrack this API with new work profiles and device support. This makes it a more well-rounded tool for businesses to take advantage of when provisioning and managing Android devices deployed across their enterprise.

A partnership between Google and Microsoft first announced in 2017 is now beginning to bear real fruit. The two companies have worked over the last year to introduce dedicated device capabilities to the Android Management API. The API, hopes Google, will in turn let developers spend less time writing MDM apps and instead build services their customers and employees need.

This week, the Android Management API is moving out of beta. Google says the recent addition of two new features means the API now offers a complete set of management tools for most every use case.

One of the primary benefits of the Android Management API is its flexibility. It works with small-, medium-, and large-scale deployments no matter the business type. Developers can enroll Android devices and use the server-side API to manage fleets of devices with only a few REST API calls. By leaving the heavy lifting to the Android Management API, developers can get to market faster and ensure more users have access to the latest feature.

The API supports dedicated devices, which are company-owned devices that serve a specific purpose. For example, a customer-facing sign or kiosk, or an employee-facing factory console. Dedicated devices are often locked to a small number of apps. The API lets developers block users from accessing any number of features the dev doesn't want changed. GOogle says its partners have created Android-based taxi meters and customer satisfaction kiosks, among other managed products.

One of the new additions includes the work profile. This lets remote employees boot their device and set up their own work profile in just minutes with no Play Store downloads needed. This is made possible by the enrollment token link. The URL needs to be provided to IT admins, who in turn offer it to their end users. The end user opens the link and is walked through the setup process. The API also supports the ability to scan a QR code on a device welcome screen for setting up managed devices for corporate-owned fleets. This would need to occur on-site, with the code appearing on the IT admin console. Similarly, work profiles can be initiated via NFC, wherein employees tap their device to a properly coded NFC tag to initiate the process.

In addition to enforcing policies and managing security, the Android Management API also allows companies to govern the use of the Google Play Store. Managed Google Play is an enterprise app Platform that's free for enterprise customers to use. It lets IT admins find apps, view details, purchase licenses, and then push them to end users via their console. Deployed devices may only be able to see enterprise-approved apps when they launch the Play Store.

Google suggests downloading the Android Management API and taking it for a spin. You can learn more here.

Be sure to read the next Enterprise article: Google's Private Catalog Gains IT Procurement Powers