It’s been an interesting week in mobility, so today I want to spotlight stories from Amazon, BlackBerry, MobileSpaces, and Apple.
Amazon Fire Phone’s MDM capabilities
You’re probably already aware that Amazon just announced their own phone, the Fire Phone. Naturally in the EMM space the first question that come up is how easily it can can be managed and incorporated into the enterprise.
The Fire Phone runs Fire OS 3.5, a forked version of Android. Like many other Android-based devices, Fire OS has its own set of mobile device management APIs, which were first announced last fall. Amazon doesn’t publish the full list of MDM APIs, but going by what we can see at developer.amazon.com and the features listed by MDM vendors that support the Kindle Fire, we can see that Fire OS has all the basic Android MDM features, plus silent app push and removal; certificate management; Wi-Fi, email, VPN, and proxy configuration; device inventory; and device restrictions for camera, Bluetooth, location, and more.
Amazon has a long list of reasons why they consider it to be an enterprise phone, but remember that the Fire Phone can’t access Google Play. If your company is relying on an app that’s only available there, then Fire Phone users could be out of luck.
BlackBerry 10.3 gets the Amazon Android App store
For quite a while now, BlackBerry has been touting the ability of BlackBerry 10 devices to run Android apps. Unfortunately, the reality is that actually getting Android apps onto the device and making sure they work correctly isn’t always a smooth experience. This will presumably change when the next update to BlackBerry 10 comes out, as it will include access to apps from the Amazon App Store.
This could be a big help for BlackBerry 10 devices, but the same caveat we have for the Fire Phone applies here: If you’re relying on apps that are only available in the Google Play store, you could have some issues.
MobileSpaces adds integrated VPN support
I first learned about MobileSpaces last fall, calling their Android product the most brilliant, unique mobile app management solution I had seen all year. MobileSpaces can manage any Android app on any Android device, avoiding the pitfalls of most other types of mobile app management. (Read here for an overview of how it works.)
This week MobileSpaces announced that it’s adding on-demand VPN capabilities to its Android workspace. It integrates libraries from Juniper Networks directly into the workspace, so there’s no need for a separate VPN agent.
Apple iOS 8 MDM information available
We already saw many new iOS 8 features in Apples WWDC 2014 keynote a few weeks ago, but in a change from previous years, Apple has released all of the WWDC sessions to the public. In past years, these sessions were restricted to registered developers until the corresponding iOS version went public. This means we can learn and talk about a more new enterprise features without having to wait a few months.
Aside from the videos, Apple has also released the MDM configuration profile key reference. There are still some features that were mentioned in the keynote that are not mentioned in any of the sessions or the configuration profile reference. However, this is still a welcome step towards openness.