Google Races to Make Android Work for Businesses

Google executive Sundar Pichai. Photo by Associated Press.
Google executive Sundar Pichai. Photo by Associated Press.

Google’s Sundar Pichai will take the stage at the company’s annual developer conference this week to show how the Android mobile operating system is being made more compatible with the needs of big businesses—a strategic market where Apple rules. But he’ll need to convince people like James Gordon, chief technology office of Needham Bank.

Like many mainstream companies, the Massachusetts-based bank, which has six branches and 180 employees, has supported Apple smartphones for years. The company has about 80 employee-owned Apple mobile devices and 30 corporate-owned ones that can handle work-related apps and email, and the bank runs seminars to teach employees about new Apple iOS software updates.

Mr. Gordon has never seriously considered Android, which is light-years behind Apple in offering business-friendly features. 

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But “iOS is very established so it will take time” for Android to make headway, he says. And Android will still have a glaring problem: its devices will have to be upgraded to the latest version of the software, something that has been a chronic issue, though Mr. Pichai is trying to solve that, too.


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Analysts say Google has a long way to go. Craig Johnston, a mobile strategist at NTT Data, an IT consulting firm, posted a document highlighting the several dozen corporate features Android doesn’t currently have.

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