When it comes to MAM deployments, Android is about as no-frills as they come.
Unlike Windows Mobile, which requires Symantec certificates to sign your apps, or Apple, which requires a developer account, Android is a bit like the Wild West of mobile apps.
Through Google Play and other Android app stores, you can do a lot on your own—without having to check with Google. And that includes deploying apps.
The only “gotcha” of Android MAM deployments is that in order to sideload an app, the user must first enable the third-party app option on their device. Once that’s enabled, any app that is properly constructed will work on the user’s device.
It really is that simple: build an app, sign it, and put it into your corporate app store. As long as the third-party app option is on on your users’ phones, the app will deploy. That’s it!
Of course, we would be remiss not to mention the potential drawback for end users in this open environment: security. Take, for instance, a scam that happened a few years ago. Many Android users downloaded apps for major banks, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The only trouble was that the banks hadn’t created the apps.
As it turned out, a developer had impersonated these major banks, and used the apps as a way to earn money and possibly even skim user data. Stuff like this happens because there are fewer controls in place to authenticate developers and apps.
The good news is that Google has cracked down quite a bit on these kinds of apps, and generally, the Android app marketplace is much friendlier and safer than it used to be. But still: there is a risk that comes with all the freedom afforded by Google when it comes to Android apps.
Android is by far the simplest platform for MAM deployments, and it’s also the most open by far. Though that does come with some drawbacks, for developers, the benefits that come with this “Wild West” of mobile apps are hard to ignore.
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