October 20th, 2017
Managing mobile devices and applications can be a challenge for businesses and partners of all sizes.
Today, our Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) partners write their own management app in order to enable management of Android devices; we call this a “device policy controller” (DPC) app. A DPC app is essentially an agent deployed by the EMM, with the real value living in the console and back end, which the app communicates with directly.
Now, with our newest tool, the Android Management API, customers and EMMs can manage devices using a server-side API and eliminate the need to write a management app. The Android Management API takes on this complexity so partners can focus on what’s important to their customers and not worry about the underlying Android framework.
Now, creating policies for your device fleet is as simple as creating a Google Cloud project and making a couple of REST API calls. The Android Management API is built around policies, rather than discrete transactions; just tell the API how a device should be managed.
Behind the scenes, Google interprets these policies into a specific set of actions for the target device, and executes those requests using the Android Device Policy app, a Google-made managing agent. Because we provides the managing agent, developers don’t need to handle nuances of the framework implementation, such as which APIs are available or what bugs need to be worked around on given versions of Android.
We’ve been testing the Android Management API with several early access partners. Mobiltec, which has launched a validated Corporate Owned Single-Use (COSU) solution, found the new API sped up the company’s EMM efforts by easing back on some development needs.
“Android Management API is a powerful Cloud Platform API that allows us to easily integrate Android EMM functions to cloud4mobile, our EMM tool. With this new management API, we can deliver top-of-market EMM solutions to a wide range of devices,” says Paulo Morandi, senior software architect at Mobiltec. “Since we don’t need to develop our own DPC (device policy controller), new features can be added in minutes; just some HTTP requests and you are done.”
The Android Management API is compatible with any device running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or above that has Google Play installed. Designed with the needs of businesses in mind, it doesn’t matter if an organization’s devices come from one or many manufacturers—this new API provides a consistent way to manage a device.
Our first set of APIs focus on purpose-built devices use cases, such as digital signage, ticket printing, or kiosks. Over the coming months, our team of engineers will add more features to cover knowledge worker management use cases, and ultimately all Android enterprise solution sets.
The Android Management API is now available in beta for all partners and developers, whether they are developing EMM software, purpose-built specific applications, or an in-house solution for an organization.
Want to try it out? Using Google’s API Explorer, you can try out the API and provision a device in minutes. All you need is a new or factory reset Android 6.0+ device and a Gmail account. Check out the Quick Start Guide to discover how quickly things can get up and running. We hope this makes development easier for partners and helps them bring the latest Android features to customers faster.