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UTalkTooMuch: Android for Mobile Enterprises Webinar, In Under 500 Words

UTalkTooMuch is a new occasional blog post in which I’ll sum up a new enterprise mobility webcast, all in 500 words or less.

The smart-alecky headline is less about disrespecting any of the webcast presenters, and more of a) theft of a great concept from my local alt-weekly newspaper; b) recognition of the great time pressure we all labor under.

One of the next webcasts to which I plan to give the UTalkTooMuch treatment is the March 10th live webcast promoting the release of Sybase’s Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011. I’ll be hosting this live 1-hour with guest analysts Kevin Benedict and Philippe Winthrop, which I promise will have a ton of banter and Q&A.

But we’ll debut with the Management and Security of Android in the Enterprise webinar put on February 24th by the Afaria and mobile device management experts at my employer, Sybase.

And so we begin: as was announced at Mobile World Congress last week, Sybase is helping Samsung inject stronger enterprise capabilities into Android.

This is the Afaria AES (Advanced Enterprise Security) and it will soon be available on the Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy S2 phones.

Afaria does offer basic security and management of Android. But the engineering work done by Samsung enables AES to offer features that bring it up nearly on par with Afaria’s control of iOS, and even long-time platforms like Windows Mobile and BlackBerry.

According to Matt Carrier, a mobility consultant at Sybase, these features include strong password control, the ability to block ports like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for security, remote lock/wipe/kill of devices, removal of corporate e-mail without affecting rest of the device (a key feature when employees with individually-owned devices on the corporate network leave the company), the ability to silently push apps and updates to users, the ability to blacklist certain apps, and more.

Afaria is a multi-tenant product, meaning it can manage multiple device types from a single console. Afaria encrypts data both in transit and at rest. While it does not image mobile devices, it can enable server backups of local data.

Sybase is looking into extending remote control capabilities for Android from Afaria. This is already available for Windows Mobile devices. Afaria CAN be used to remotely manage and secure devices over the air for other platforms such as iOS and Android, it just can’t fully take over the device unless it is running Windows Mobile. Not yet, anyway.

Will AES features go into Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets? Yes, if those APIs created by Samsung are also brought forth to Honeycomb, according to Mark Jordan, product manager for Afaria at Sybase.

Asked if Sybase will extend AES to the Motorola Xoom and other devices, Sybase says that is contigent on device makers investing in the same engineering API work as Samsung. But stay tuned…

In the meantime, Sybase continues to enhance Afaria for Android. Sybase has also augmented a corporate e-mail software for Android called Nitrodesk Touchdown with Afaria’s security and management capabilities.

This boosts the Exchange ActiveSync features it already had. For instance, Nitrodesk can now prevent users from cutting-and-pasting text from a corporate e-mail into another app.

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