Managing Android mobiles



  • I've only ever used and managed iPhones at work and it's gone very well - both in terms of reliability and minimal levels of user support. I use Meraki MDM. Every now and again, someone high up in the organisation asks if we should switch to Android phones. My gut feeling is always to say no because I perceive that it will involve considerably more work from me and my team in terms of both management and user support. But I don't have any direct experience of Android in the workplace (I use them personally at home, so occasionally have to give user support to my wife).

    I was just wondering if anyone here has made the switch, or manages both and can give me some feedback on what it's like and how they compare. This is not about personal preference for your own device (I prefer Android, btw) but managing and supporting other users' devices.



  • I would stick to iDevices :-)



  • We have done both for clients. IOS is a whole lot easier. This has been the easiest to use to manage them https://www.bushel.com/

    But haven't found an android one that was as easy to deploy and use.



  • The Meraki platform would work for the Android devices as well, but unfortunately, it could be uninstalled without a password the last time I checked it.

    If you office is already heavily invested in the iPlatform, I'd suggest keeping it that way for now.



  • @Minion-Queen Is this better then the Meraki solution?



  • Yes. Not only can you do all that the Meraki MDM does, but you can also push apps, wipe the phone remotely if needed. Control cloud backups of the phone etc.



  • @dafyre said in Managing Android mobiles:

    If you office is already heavily invested in the iPlatform, I'd suggest keeping it that way for now.

    Oh, so would I. So would I. I'm just looking for real world experiences so that I can better persuade upper management exactly why we use iPhones.



  • @Minion-Queen said in Managing Android mobiles:

    We have done both for clients. IOS is a whole lot easier. This has been the easiest to use to manage them https://www.bushel.com/

    But haven't found an android one that was as easy to deploy and use.

    @Carnival-Boy said in Managing Android mobiles:

    @dafyre said in Managing Android mobiles:

    If you office is already heavily invested in the iPlatform, I'd suggest keeping it that way for now.

    Oh, so would I. So would I. I'm just looking for real world experiences so that I can better persuade upper management exactly why we use iPhones.

    I vote you use @Minion-Queen for reference. :-D



  • IOS is built for security and for business use (or at least that is what they are trying to do). The tools out there to manage the IOS and the security to go with it are stable and very enterprise friendly. And the cost for what I mentioned above, is like $2/device/month.

    The other couple of Android things we have tried have been more like $9/device/month and didn't do what we needed and the user could delete it.


  • Service Provider

    All other things aside, I think iOS devices are far better for business: they are more stable, easier to manage, more secure and they all get managed as a single thing. Android is not a single platform but a family of platforms, not designed as much around business or security.

    But, the real question is not if Android is harder to manage, that's simple. We know that Android is a lot of extra work. The question is, what value does management perceive in Androids and how much extra management cost and effort does it take to offset that extra benefit? Without knowing what that benefit is, we can't tell if Android is a bad choice or not.



  • I am a big fan of android for my business and personal use, but I think iOS is much better for business environments.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Managing Android mobiles:

    The question is, what value does management perceive in Androids

    Well, apparently the salesman from the phone company told someone here that Samsung phones have better phone reception (lol!). Yeah, nothing to do with the margins they'd make on selling us said phones.

    The only two advantages I can think of are

    1. There is an awesome app for our Samsung PBX system that is only available on Android.
    2. Up-front cost. Maybe. I don't even know. I think equivalent Android phones are marginally cheaper than iPhones. It's a trivial amount but management often (well, make that 'always') over estimate the importance of up-front costs versus TCO. I think they work under the misconception that we don't actually have salaries in the IT department and all the work we do managing equipment is free of charge (we do it for love, or free fairies or something).


  • @Minion-Queen Sadly, it doesn't seem to have location :-/



  • I manage both and have to disagree here that iOS is more built for work. They both are very well suited for business use and Android gives you more options and features especially as a user.

    Cost is another big factor. Getting a high end Android phone is going to cost considerably less than any iOS comparable device. We are using the OnePlus 2 and 3 which is no less then £150 cheaper than an SE device but more comparable to the 6 is specs/performance/features.

    First of all you can fully manage a company owned android device if you want to have full control over it and nobody can remove this and sign in or do anything you don't want them to do. You can even prevent a device from being factory reset in this type of setup.
    Assign a device owner to a managed device

    If you're lucky enough to be on Google Apps the MDM (soon MAM too) management comes free as part of the domain. There's also the lack of dual-sim phones for iOS which as we've started to provide staff with these we've had a huge increase in requests for company provided, dual-sim android phones. Keeping data split between personal and work is also possible with Android which isn't on iOS.

    Manage your business's mobile devices
    Android for Work

    Apple of course have DEP and VPP which can help with device management and app purchases and if you're already using Casper, for example, device management is as an optional extra built into their platform.



  • We do not have the luxury of choosing what to support - we run what you 'brung :D

    Airwatch has worked pretty well for us. It's a slick install you can send to the mobile number or via email. Once installed it sets up our email settings in their client and gives us complete control of their phone. Remote wipe, "corp data only" wipe, etc.

    Overall I would give Airwatch 7.5/10

    Currently we have about a 50/50 mix of ios/andy and there is exactly ZERO difference between the two to manage them. Y'all can argue all you want about which is better for whatever - I personally don't care and only need to corral them.



  • Anyone trying to use Office 365's MDM? We're having fits and starts here.


  • Service Provider

    @Kelly said in Managing Android mobiles:

    Anyone trying to use Office 365's MDM? We're having fits and starts here.

    Better than fits and ends, I suppose.



  • @Carnival-Boy said in Managing Android mobiles:

    @scottalanmiller said in Managing Android mobiles:

    The question is, what value does management perceive in Androids

    Well, apparently the salesman from the phone company told someone here that Samsung phones have better phone reception (lol!). Yeah, nothing to do with the margins they'd make on selling us said phones.

    The only two advantages I can think of are

    1. There is an awesome app for our Samsung PBX system that is only available on Android.
    2. Up-front cost. Maybe. I don't even know. I think equivalent Android phones are marginally cheaper than iPhones. It's a trivial amount but management often (well, make that 'always') over estimate the importance of up-front costs versus TCO. I think they work under the misconception that we don't actually have salaries in the IT department and all the work we do managing equipment is free of charge (we do it for love, or free fairies or something).

    Never change platforms because of a sales dick's advice, that's always the wrong decision. All you would do is put a fat commission in the sales dick's pocket... they don't give a rat's ass which is better for your business needs.



  • @Carnival-Boy said in Managing Android mobiles:

    Well, apparently the salesman from the phone company told someone here that Samsung phones have better phone reception (lol!). Yeah, nothing to do with the margins they'd make on selling us said phones.

    Btw, don't buy your phones and voice/data contract together. Buy your devices on your own, unlocked and get a SIM only type deal with the provider. You'll pay more for this no matter what you decide to go with and then have the added burden of unlocking the device when you want to change carriers.

    Our contract came to an end recently and we managed to cut costs from £50/user/month to £8/user/month with more minutes and data but have yet to spend £15,000 difference on the handsets. We've spent about £3,500 so far upgrading or replacing damaged devices and we're more than half way done with the 12 month contract. Which is the other benefit, you don't get stuck with them for 2 or 3 years as usual when getting a device from the provider.


  • Service Provider

    @larsen161 said in Managing Android mobiles:

    @Carnival-Boy said in Managing Android mobiles:

    Well, apparently the salesman from the phone company told someone here that Samsung phones have better phone reception (lol!). Yeah, nothing to do with the margins they'd make on selling us said phones.

    Btw, don't buy your phones and voice/data contract together. Buy your devices on your own, unlocked and get a SIM only type deal with the provider. You'll pay more for this no matter what you decide to go with and then have the added burden of unlocking the device when you want to change carriers.

    Our contract came to an end recently and we managed to cut costs from £50/user/month to £8/user/month with more minutes and data but have yet to spend £15,000 difference on the handsets. We've spent about £3,500 so far upgrading or replacing damaged devices and we're more than half way done with the 12 month contract. Which is the other benefit, you don't get stuck with them for 2 or 3 years as usual when getting a device from the provider.

    We do the same in the US with T-Mobile. We get much better deals that way. And some of us (like me) are not gadget people and happily use the same phone for longer than the two years that things are normally based around. I'm still working on a great condition iPhone 5s and could easily use it for another season.



  • @larsen161 said in Managing Android mobiles:

    Btw, don't buy your phones and voice/data contract together.

    This would suit me as I'm not involved in the negotiations with the phone company at all. Which is why we've ended up in the stupid situation where a provider is discussing Android phones with people in our organisation and no-one from IT is in the room. It would be great if I could just purchase phones as needed exactly the same as I currently purchase other IT equipment.

    Unfortunately, politics. Whilst I like to keep the IT department as lean as possible, and thus am more than happy to devolve power wherever it makes our lives easier, other department heads like to grow their empires.

    We're still handing out new 5s's, which seems like false economy to me. I have a 5 which works fine but is frustratingly slow.


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