Basic Android enterprise support has been mandatory since Android 6.0 Marshmallow in 2015, and support for work profiles (on devices that meet processor requirements) has been mandatory since Android 7.0 Nougat in 2016. Google's now moving to address this with a new certification process.
The new Android Enterprise Recommended program is created to give organizations more confidence in the enterprise readiness of Android devices for work purposes. The global initiative aims to set a new "bar of excellence" for devices used to support mission-critical enterprise workloads. These phones will also come with a version of Google Assistant that will allow people to send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more. These devices offer more premium hardware, with Nexus and Pixel aspects like fast software and security updates. The first phones in the Enterprise Recommended program include devices from LG, BlackBerry, Motorola, and others.
Intex is also expected to unveil its Android Go phone this Q1 2018, but the date, just like many others, is still unclear.
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Requirements also state that security updates should be delivered within 90 days of their release from Google, that there be a consistent user experience on managed devices, and that unlocked devices must be available from the manufacturer or seller.
The report card gave Google an "A" because since it's their operating system and they control their own Pixel and Nexus phones, they can update them pretty quickly. Several major brands are now absent from the list though, including Samsung which already provides its own enterprise-specific features.
However, Google has suggested that Samsung could win its approval in the future, noting that "you can expect more Android Enterprise Recommended devices to be added in the coming weeks and months". Android phones are still unlikely to receive regular updates, an issue which could put company data at risk.