Droids Earn Business Cred with Android 2.2

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Which member of Verizon's Droid family of smartphones will get Android 2.2 first? The just-released Motorola Droid X is slated to receive the new version of Google's mobile operating system in late July, which could mean any day now. Other reports have the Droid 2, the original Droid's replacement that's coming next month, as the first phone come with Android 2.2 preinstalled.

Whichever Droid earns the honor, it won't be the first phone to run Android 2.2. Google began sending over-the-air version 2.2 updates to users of its Nexus One phones about a month ago, even though the company will soon stop selling its HTC-build handset.

Android's Business Play

With the arrival of Android 2.2, the latest batch of Droids and other high-end smartphones, including the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung's Galaxy S series, will be much better equipped to battle Research In Motion's Blackberry and Apple's iPhone in the enterprise market. Google's next-gen mobile OS adds a number of business-friendly features that will ensure Android's growth beyond its consumer base.

Security is vastly improved. Microsoft Exchange administrators, for instance, can remotely wipe stolen or lost Android 2.2 phones, and restore the devices to their factory defaults. They can also enforce a password policy, and use numeric pin or alpha-numeric passwords to unlock the handsets.

If you're running Exchange 2007 or newer, you can quickly set up and sync an Exchange account with just your user name and password. Android 2.2's Calendar app supports Exchange calendars, and email users can auto-complete recipient names from their corporate directory.

Cloud Compatible

Android 2.2 has better cloud integration too. Developers can activate phone alerts, route information to handsets, and enable two-way sync features for their apps. Users can back up their data to the cloud, and then restore it on a new device--a boon given the insanely fast upgrade cycles for smartphones.

Since Android 2.2 allows you to use your phone as a portable hotspot, it may actually help businesses cut travel costs. Rather than paying an outrageous fee to use a hotel's Wi-Fi service, you could connect your computer to your phone's portable hotspot for Internet access.

Of course, other consumer-friendly upgrades, including faster performance and support for Flash Player 10.1 (e.g., for Web-based training videos) will benefit business users too.

In a follow-up post on this blog soon, we'll take a closer look at the Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone platforms and decide which is best for business.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter http://twitter.com/jbertolucci or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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