Android smartphones and tablets are gaining traction with corporate users as the bring-your-own-device movement continues its progress into the heart of enterprise. Rather than fighting what would be a losing battle, savvy CIOs and their IT departments are developing their own internal Android apps for employee use. And Google is helping them out.
The Google Play store is the mother lode for Android apps like Google+ app, Google Drive app and hundreds of thousands more. On Dec. 4, the company announced on its enterprise blog that it was adding an option for businesses to create their own Google Play private channel to distribute their internal Android apps to employees.
Here's how it works: IT managers have to first register as Google Apps for Business administrators and pay a $25 registration fee. That will provide them access to the Google Play Developer Console, where they can create a private channel and upload, host and distribute their internal apps such as a custom expense reporting app or a conference room finder.
Though businesses are limited to having only one private channel, they can control distribution by country and specific device model. Apps also can't be pushed out to the private channel and the public Play Store at the same time.
The private channel is designed so that employees can easily find and download internal apps. Once a company has loaded the internal apps, users just need to log in with their company email address to browse the private channel and install apps.