A smoother and safer experience should be on the way with Android 13
As part of its rollout of Android 13, Google has released more details on the raft of new quality-of-life and security features it says are designed to make the lives of business users easier.
While the features targeting professionals may be more low-key than those aimed at a consumer audience, it’s safe to say business smartphone users stand to benefit from the new release too.
Already available to owners of Google-branded phones, Android 13 has made it much easier for employees to maintain a work-life balance, while IT admins have more control than ever before over the restrictions on how business devices can be used.
Android 13 for businesses
According to Google, Android 13 is more intuitive for business users than previous releases. That’s really the focus here; the new feature set doesn’t break any spectacular ground, and not all of the new features are present right now, but these new details demonstrate strides towards a smoother and safer user experience.
Customizing employee experience
Work profiles have been a feature of Android’s business settings for a while, separating and protecting an employee’s personal data. One of the biggest quality-of-life changes in Android 13, however, is how work and personal profiles are managed.
It’s now simple for employees to separate personal and work profiles as well as navigate between them, while admin policies can still police both sides.
“Employees can choose to open an app in either their work or personal profile, depending on where it’s installed,” Google noted. “If they’d prefer to keep work-related content out of their personal apps — so a work-related training video on YouTube doesn’t affect their personal watchlist, for example — they can choose to access that content in their browser instead.”
According to Google, the updated Android Management API won’t just provide immediate ease-of-use and privacy to business phone users, but will allow the company to continue to release “helpful new features and management capabilities more frequently”.
This should mean that employees and IT admins alike aren’t kept waiting until Android 14 for further quality-of-life adjustments to their business phone experience.
Increasing work productivity
An additional level of ChromeOS integration is also on the way, bringing Google one step closer to matching the seamless integration between Apple’s iOS and macOS that makes an all-Apple organization such an appealing business proposition.
The changes will allow users to view and respond to messages and data on their phone from a business Chromebook.
But that’s not all, Google’s Smart Dictation recommendations are now separated across profiles, so users will never send a text message ending in ‘Kind regards’ to a family member again.
Near-field communication (NFC) is now also available on work profiles, making it even quicker to use tap-to-pay services in public, which is sure to save valuable time on that trip to the coffee shop over lunch.
With Google’s new productivity features for Android 13, the company has made its Pixel devices – and other Android smartphones, soon to benefit from the new OS – a compelling proposition for business buyers.
Additional security controls
Google claims that privacy and security are at the core of Android Enterprise, and Android 13 is no different. The company’s early preview makes a strong case that it wants business users to know what control they have over their individual security settings, and the data that’s being shared with their IT admins, all through a central hub.
Users now have one photo gallery per profile, with the one that isn’t in use automatically hidden, ensuring employees maintain their privacy at all times when at work.
Further, admins can now monitor security logs for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and password use, as permitted by the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP), control and limit Wi-Fi connectivity, and issue security patches more quickly than before.
Users and admins are being tended to equally here. Admins will soon be able to track and lock devices with Lost Mode, while the Stay Private on Work Wi-Fi feature will encrypt and route employee traffic on a personal profile whilst connected to company Wi-Fi.
In addition to existing company management policies, users interacting with their phone data via the new ChromeOS integration features will also be protected by end-to-end encryption.
With Android 13, Google is becoming increasingly confident that the operating system will have a strong presence within the working world. With these new planned enhancements to Android in a business setting, Google will soon be offering a better value proposition to professionals than ever.
By Luke Hughes