Motorola Solutions is making a big push for the Android enterprise market. Today the company announced three devices running the latest version of Android Jelly Bean, along with a suite of Mx extensions and RhoMobile 4.0 development tools designed to simplify and enhance the creation of cross-platform, enterprise-ready apps.
Motorola Solutions’ indoor retail operations devices—the ET1 Enterprise Tablet and MC40 Handheld Mobile Computer—and the more durable MC67 Mobile Computer for outdoor enterprise use, now support Android OS running Jelly Bean 4.1.1, with improved security, logging and graphics support. But Jelly Bean isn’t quite enterprise-ready, according to Motorola Solutions spokesperson Barry Issberner, which is why the company is also releasing optional but recommended Mx extensions.
Mx is a suite of security, device-management and performance extensions for Jelly Bean that allows IT administrators control over business application permissions and real-time remote MDM (mobile device management). Mx also has enterprise-class data capture features, pre-emptive roaming, and edge awareness, Issberner said.
More importantly, the Mx extensions were written on the Android Open Source Project, so they sit on top of the Android OS without compromising its functionality or creating compatibility issues.
“When we look at our customer base, which has expanded to cover every conceivable market, there’s a lot of technological change,” Issberner said. He explained that with Android (and to a lesser extent iOS) coming out of nowhere to dominate the consumer and now enterprise mobile markets, Motorola Solutions developers are expanding compatibility across platforms and devices with the suite of RhoMobile 4.0 development tools.
“It’s a good way to protect our partner community from the shifting sand of platforms, and focus on what really matters: making a compelling application,” Issberner said.
Because Android is also forward-compatible, he said Motorola Solutions developers would have no problem creating native apps. He said the big advantage of combining the Mx extensions and RhoMobile development tool capabilities is creating one app definition to support all devices, adjusting for enterprise users’ different needs.
Poremba hopes to attract as many developers as possible, explaining that Motorola Solutions doesn’t need to provide one specific Android SDK because of its cross-platform compatibility. The company will provide sample code for developers to start programming though, available on its website.
For now, Motorola Solutions is waiting to see whether Android’s forthcoming KitKat OS catches on and is of interest to its enterprise clients before pledging support, just in case Android moves quickly onto “Lollipop or Marshmallow or whatever comes next,” Issberner said.
RhoMobile 4.0 does, however, support iOS and Windows legacy products as well, with a commitment to support Windows Phone 8 in 2014.
“Motorola Solutions has brought together the industry’s broadest enterprise mobile-computing portfolio operating on the Jelly Bean version of the Android OS,” said Girish Rishi, Motorola Solutions senior vice president of enterprise solutions.
“With Mx, businesses can feel confident that these Android devices are secure, manageable and enterprise-ready. Developers can also leverage and develop standard Android applications or HTML5 cross-platform applications using RhoMobile Suite 4.0. Now, businesses have more choices and can better manage rapid changes in the market by using Motorola’s tools that deliver complete solutions in less time while protecting their mobile investments.”