Samsung is notably absent from the list of approved devices
Google has revealed a new program designed to make it easier for enterprise customers to safely select and deploy Android devices throughout their businesses from a range of manufacturers, although Samsung is missing from the list.
The Android Enterprise Recommended programme promises to make it "simple for businesses to confidently select, deploy and manage Android devices and services that meet elevated enterprise requirements validated by Google", by offering a short list of pre-approved devices.
The programme "establishes best practices and common requirements for devices and services, backed by a thorough testing process conducted by Google," said David Still, director of Android Enterprise, in a statement on Wednesday.
"Devices in the program meet an elevated set of specifications for hardware, deployment, security updates, and user experience to help organizations handle the most challenging and diverse business environments."
Devices produced by Blackberry, Huawei, LG, Moto, Nokia and Sony, as well as Google's own Pixel range, make up a curated list of 21 handsets for enterprises to choose from, with Samsung, the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer, notably absent.
Google has said that Samsung played a role in the development of the programme, telling ZDNet: "We worked closely with Samsung on the overall requirements and invited them to be a launch partner in the program."
One likely reason for the omission is due to Google's stringent programme requirements, which state a handful of apps that have been approved by Google should be offered by default to users – this includes Google's Play Store, which Samsung eschews in favour of its own app store. However, given Samsung's early involvement, it's possible that its devices will make their way to the list in the near future.
Requirements also state that security updates should be delivered within 90 days of their release from Google, that there be a consistent user experience on managed devices, and that unlocked devices must be available from the manufacturer or seller.
The program is Google's latest attempt to chip away at Apple's dominance in the enterprise space. While Gartner's latest smartphone sales report shows Android remains dominant in the consumer space, with a market share of 85.9% compared to just 14% for iOS, the numbers are practically reversed in the enterprise sector.
Data collected by Egnyte in 2017 found that iOS accounted for 82% of mobile usage within the enterprise, compared to 18% for Android. This is in part due to the myriad of devices and customised operating system overlays that make up the Android market, making it comparatively difficult to obtain a standardised set of products – something that Google hopes will be remedied by a curated list that has its own stamp of approval.