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Android to get enterprise friendlier

Motorola unit 3LM plans to release security and management software that makes it easier to work in the office as well as the home.

Android smartphones and tablets are getting ready to go to work.

Mobile devices running on Android such as the Droid Bionic will get enhanced security features thanks to 3LM. Josh Miller

3LM, a unit of Motorola Mobility, is ready to release a set of enterprise-grade security and management tools to a number of Android phone manufacturers.

The tools allow corporate IT departments to integrate Android devices into their systems. It also makes it easier for individuals to take their personal Android phones and tablets and use them for work.

3LM's work ties into the broader trend known as the consumerization of IT, in which people bring in their own devices for work, rather than have a separate company-assigned device. Earlier Monday, AT&T announced a Toggle service that allows mobile devices to switch between enterprise and personal identities.

"I think we've managed to offer a win-win for IT and consumers," said Tom Moss, chief executive of 3LM.

The company is using the CTIA Enterprise & Applications conference, which kicks off tomorrow in San Diego, as the venue for its coming-out party.

3LM's software offers the ability to encrypt the phone's memory and SD card. In addition, it can selectively add further encryption on the enterprise portions of the phone. Similarly, it can keep track of work and non-work applications, allowing its enhanced security to protect critical programs.

Like other security apps, it also offers the ability to remotely wipe the memory of the phone if it gets lost or stolen.

The software also allows IT departments to remotely install or delete programs, track its location, and control the operating system, programs and the device itself. It also allows the phone to create a secure connection back to the office, known as a virtual private network.

The software will work on phones using Android 2.2, also known as Froyo, or higher.

Motorola purchased 3LM earlier this year to help augment the security in its own products. But rather than keep the 3LM capabilities to itself, it opted to distribute it to as many partners as possible, allowing IT departments to get a consistent level of security and management tools.

3LM has agreements to distribute its software to a dozen Android manufacturers, including HTC and Sony Ericsson. It's still in discussion with Samsung Electronics, the world's largest Android player.

There is no fee to 3LM's handset-manufacturing partners for the software. Instead, the unit will charge companies that wish to activate the software already preloaded in Android phones.

3LM has been testing the software for the past few months, and Moss said that it will be ready later this month. Moss added that because it was a unit of Motorola, it had the time to fully develop the software, and hasn't been under pressure to generate revenue right away.

With that said, Moss noted that there was a clear division with Motorola, which will get the same access to 3LM's capabilities as anyone else.

"We don't hold anything back from any partners," he said.

Moss, who along with his team broke out from Google to start the business, said he was pleased that he would eventually be folded back into the mother ship. Google in August agreed to acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion.

"I'm pretty happy about how things turned out with Motorola and Google," Moss said. "It'll be a great partnership for them."