Motorola's big plans to fix Android's security woes

Execs confirm plans to develop APIs for the missing capabilities, letting Android devices match the security level of BlackBerrys and iPhones

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Delivering on Motorola Mobility's promises is of course a tall order for a startup, but the 3LM founders' credentials are encouraging: Gaurav Mather was previously Google's Android program technology manager. Co-founder Tom Moss was Google's worldwide head of business development and operations for Android. Motorola, meanwhile, can provide the funds, clout, sales, marketing, back office, and other infrastructure to get things moving fast.

If Motorola Mobility comes through, would it gain traction among other Android device makers and by mobile device management (MDM) vendors? Ojas Rege thinks that chances are good -- if 3LM were to be truly independent of Motorola Mobility and if there were a clear, sustained commitment to the APIs and supporting technologies. Rege, vice president of product at MDM vendor MobileIron, didn't know the specifics of Motorola Mobility's plans, so he could not assess the 3LM proposition specifically. But he said that such developments from any major provider could have a positive effect on Android's business fit.

Should multiple APIs spring up, with different device makers taking their pick from the choices, both MDM vendors and IT managers would have to decide how many to support, based on market share, technology differences, and other factors. Rege said that Google doesn't want Android to get too fragmented, so if an effort like Motorola Mobility's ended up being one of many, he would expect Google to step in earlier.

Rege said that Google has MDM in its Android goals, noting the addition of on-device encryption in the recently released Android 3.0, but acknowledges that Google isn't moving as quickly as entertprises need, given the demand by users to bring Android devices into the office. An MDM API effort such as Motorola Mobility's plans could help Android gain faster acceptance by enterprises, Rege said, and that in turn could spur Google to move faster on making such capabilities native to the Android OS. If Motorola Mobility became the de facto MDM API provider for Android device makers, the question of Google's speed would be largely moot, and both IT and MDM vendors would have an easier time making Android an equal member of their mobile device portfolio.

Additional reporting by InfoWorld executive editor Galen Gruman.

This story, "Motorola's big plans to fix Android's security woes," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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