Google has now revealed some new enterprise features users should expect with Android 9.0 Pie, as the OS goes official and begins rolling out to Pixel-branded handsets. As with the rest of the new version of Android, the focus is on security and ‘digital wellbeing’ but the search giant is also concerned with making Android as productive as possible. To that end, one of the biggest changes is in the addition of new administrative controls over the U.I. and A.I.-driven contextual suggestions. The first of those inclusions centers around admins’ ability to control which elements of the U.I. show up for end users with the goal of enabling a more efficient use of single-purpose devices. Controls are available to hide or show the status bar, notifications, and other elements of the U.I. in order to only enable the device to perform its primary purpose.
On the A.I. side of the equation, App Actions utilizes machine learning to provide contextually relevant actions for users to perform in the Android launcher, Smart Text Selection, and Google’s apps. For example, a user might see a prompt to share the Google Drive folder they are currently working from with work associates in order to boost productivity. Machine learning is a key aspect of that, with the system learning to be more accurate and responsive as it discovers the individual employee’s requirements and appropriate work-related behaviors. App Actions are not exclusive to an enterprise user in Android 9.0 but should prove useful nonetheless. With regard to digital wellbeing, on the other hand, the new Dashboard and Do Not Disturb tools included with the update will already be useful in helping workers monitor their screen time and usage. However, Google is also incorporating a work apps tab for enterprise users. That will enable the creation of a separate tab for work-specific apps that can be toggled on or off. In effect, the tool should help workers separate their work and personal lives more easily since turning the apps off will halt notifications and stop those apps.
Finally, the search giant says that Android 9.0 makes substantial improvements to the security and privacy of the OS. That’s because it supports secure transactions enabled by Protected Confirmation APIs and allows developers to take advantage of tamper-resistant hardware featured in many Android devices. Moreover, the company has added compiler-based mitigations that it says will make exploiting bugs that are present in the OS more difficult. All data moving into or out of Android Pie devices is now protected via Transport Layer Security (TLS). That’s enabled by default and system-level support for DNS-over-TLS is included as well. Admins overseeing work devices, meanwhile, now have the ability to put individual PIN and timeout requirements in place for personal and work profiles as well as policies that prevent sharing between those profiles. That includes APIs that are being created in order to allow keys and certificates to ‘securely identify devices’ with access to enterprise resources.