This piece of news is probably a bigger hit to RIM than anyone else, because when it comes to enterprises and Governments who want to use secure smartphones, they have always been their first choice. Now it’s becoming increasingly more clear that Android is a viable choice for Governments, military, security agencies and companies who want secure devices.
Currently, those with access to classified information are not allowed to view it using unsecured smartphones, and unfortunately for them they still have to use “secure” phone models from maybe more than 5 years ago, that don’t even have touchscreens. That is starting to be unacceptable for many Government officials when they’re using much more modern touchscreen smartphones for their personal affairs already.
One of the most important features of this secure version of Android, is the ability to block any app permission you want. Google isn’t allowing normal users to customize the permissions an app can get in Android right now, probably because they want to make it easier for developers, so they don’t have to worry about making their app work only with certain permissions.
Still, it wouldn’t hurt Google to at least clarify some of their permissions better, because people get scared when they a SMS app require full Internet connection (which usually just means needing access to retrieve the ads) or read/write access to the SD card (which might be because the app is keeping data on the SD card).
So whether they will give the user more fine-grained control or not, they certainly need to make those permissions more fine-grained, because some apps do require certain permissions that it shouldn’t get, but because it’s not clear enough to the user what it wants, the user accepts it anyway.
One interesting tidbit of information is that the people working on the Security Enhanced Android said that they can deliver updates to their Android phones within 2 weeks. Well that could certainly put our favorite manufacturers and carriers to shame, who sometimes update one of their phones in 6 months or more. If only private companies could be as efficient as the Government in updating Android! (that’s something you don’t hear everyday, do you?).
Now, the question remains, will Government officials get ICS on their phones before most of us do?