Android

Android and Chromebooks: A one-two punch for business

Jack Wallen examines some serious business-ready updates coming for Chrome OS and Android.

Android and Chromebook business

The Android platform has hit a major stride in taking over the majority of the global mobile market. That marketshare crosses both consumer and business landscapes. Chrome OS (and Chromebooks), however, has been primarily relegated to consumers. With their incredibly cheap price tags and secure/reliable platform, Chromebooks are a perfect solution for a vast majority of the average computer users.

But with upcoming updates to the Chrome OS platform, the Android/Chrome OS combo is starting to make even more sense for business. And why not? Android is one of the most flexible mobile platforms on the planet, and Chrome OS has become the single best means of interacting with the business-friendly Google Apps. But with certain updates in the pipeline, it's becoming almost impossible to refute the Android/Chrome OS combo for a large amount of everyday business needs.

Hold on a minute. There's one argument I get, more than any other, against Chrome OS as a viable solution to business.

Software.

Yes, to many that is the Achilles Heel of Chrome OS. You cannot install your standard software packages. But who uses standard software packages now? If you're keeping up to date, you know everything is on the fast track to be moved to the cloud. Even two of the major players, Microsoft Office and QuickBooks, have shown that they are intent on getting their users off the desktop and into the cloud. Because of this, the need for software (outside of a browser) is growing less of an issue. That's where the Chromebook shines. It's a cost-effective solution that your end users would have to actually try to break.

How does this all relate to Android? It's all in the updates. Coming to a Chromebook near you are a few improvements that might draw your attention. Let's take a look.

Auto sign in

Password sign-in is crucial for business. You don't want a data breach on your hands, but having to enter your password every time you go to use your Chromebook can be a real drag on your efficiency. With an upcoming upgrade to both platforms, you'll be able to auto-login to your Chromebook simply by having your Android smartphone nearby. Once you've connected the two devices (via software), your Chromebook will detect the phone and remain logged in. If a user attempts to use your Chromebook, and the associated smartphone is not near, a lock screen will be presented.

This feature will also allow you to set up auto-login of your favorite applications. This is both efficient and secure.

Calls and messages

With the upcoming upgrade to Chrome OS, you'll never miss a call or an alert, because whatever appears on your smartphone will appear on your Chromebook. If a text message comes through to your smartphone, a pop-up will appear on your Chromebook. This system will allow you to view and reply to the message. Those texts will sync between phone and laptop, so you can pick up the conversation where you left off when you're not at your Chromebook.

As to phonecalls, it's unknown if you'll be able to answer the calls on the Chromebook, but my best guess is no. You will, however, be able to see the incoming caller -- so, if it's important, you'll know to grab your smartphone immediately.

Battery notification

Speaking of notifications, you often depend upon your smartphone to do business -- and you can't do business with a dead battery. Soon, your Chromebook will be able to alert you if your Android battery is low. It's easy to forget to plug that smartphone in at times, so now your Chromebook has your back. This feature doesn't require your smartphone to be next to your Chromebook either... and you'll be able to customize the alert so that you're only informed of battery status when you want to be (this probably means you'll be able to customize the threshold that will trigger the alert).

Apps

Finally, and this is the big one -- Chromebooks will be able to run Android apps as if they were native. This update, alone, will give a huge boost to the Chromebook's ability to navigate the waters of daily business usage. These apps will run in both online and offline mode, but not every Android app will be available for the Chromebook. In fact, Google has yet to say which apps will; but my best guess is that this feature will focus heavily on apps that are business-centric. Google already demonstrated Evernote running on Chrome OS (at Google I/O).

The nature of business has changed. Much of what we do is done within a web browser, so it makes perfect sense that business users work on a platform that doesn't require a lot of time and money cleaning, re-installing software, and supporting. The landscape of mobile business technology has some major changes on the horizon. Companies like Microsoft and Apple should be concerned now that Google's platforms have found a level of maturity that's acceptable to today's businesses.

A one-two punch of Android and Chrome OS will soon be ready to have your businesses back. Are you ready to give it a go? If not, what keeps you from deploying Chromebooks within your business? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

14 comments
..Ne0
..Ne0

(My guess) Only Android ART compatible apps will be available on chromebooks as native applications.

Both Android ART and Chromebooks use the Gentoo Linux's Portage package.
ps.techrep
ps.techrep

So, all someone will need to do to break security on your "updated" Chromebook is to rob you of both your phone and your Chromebook?  What about phone cloning?


No problem!!


It would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic.  What ever happened to 3 factor authentication -( two things you have that can be stolen isn't 3 factor); with new Chrome, it will be one factor. 

Claude J Greengrass
Claude J Greengrass

How about a Linux VM for Chromebooks?


Dell already has a Windows VM so the precedence for a VM on ChromeOS exists.  Simple problem to change the loaded OS from WindowsXXX to LinuxYFD (Your Favorite Distro).  A sandboxed Linux allows local installation of software without the need to modify ChromeOS.  YMMV  

Gisabun
Gisabun

While I believe the Android OS is probably enterprise ready, the Chromebook is nothing but a big paperweight using inferior hardware and limited enterprise support. Is there any central management available for a system administrator to use? Can it block the Chromebook user from installing software? Centralized security [anti-virus/anti-malware]?

vadertime
vadertime

I am so glad I got my Chromebook last year.

Mindtickler
Mindtickler

As I read each feature I couldn't help but think Woop De Doo.  Wow, it tells you if your phone battery is low.  What a business feature!


And Apple has been sharing alerts and texts for a long time now.  Did Android just NOW catch up?


I work in a server lab.  All this is worthless to me.



simon@syd
simon@syd

Presumably the phone needs to past the pin login screen for the proximity login to work? I think this feature would be viewed warilly by business!

les4
les4

What a lot of rot in the real world android and chrome don't cut it yes Google apps if all you want is to write documents or produce a spreadsheet but there is more to business than that. I have tried using a tablet for work and gave up by tablet I'm including ipad. I have a colleague who swears by mac but I notice he uses his laptop and not his ipad most of the time. Why? Because the ipad can't do some of the things he needs to do. Same with me I use my laptop because it works. Besides have you ever tried using the cloud versions of Microsoft products not only are they slow they also don't have all the features of the desk top version. Until you can do all the things on a tablet that you can do on a desktop/laptop they will always be a toy not suited to business.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Android is a complete failure for any industry that requires secure connections to its networks while Chromebooks are incapable of performing in those same industries where on-board software and corporate middleware need to mingle. All in all, trying to use Android and Chromebooks as a corporate package is like trying to use a full desktop version of Windows on a tablet all the time. It hasn't worked for 14 years and it will continue to be a failure until desktop Windows becomes a lot more tablet friendly.

khawar.nehal
khawar.nehal

Well if someone gets a hold of the chromebook and the phone, then they do not need your password. 

I think we need to get businesses to become aware how MS Centric to Google centric they shall become if they go the android route.
I believe they need to diversify and not place all their eggs in the same basket. Maybe store encrypted files on free services and access them privately inside their own computers.

-- Khawar Nehal 

http://dubai-computer-services.com 


maconrad
maconrad

"This feature will also allow you to set up auto-login of your favorite applications. This is both efficient and secure."


So someone steals your phone and your Chromebook and they've got the keys to the castle. This is secure how?

kindlen
kindlen

Through Google Apps there is fine grain settings that can be set for users or groups.

pethers
pethers

@maconrad  LOL I was thinking the exact same thing - no auto-login feature is secure. I don't even like to use browser auto-logins to websites unless they are relatively unimportant, like techrepublic for example!