Why Zebra is Transitioning Mobile Devices Directly from Android 11 to Android 13

James Swinton-Bland -

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You may have read on our main zebra.com blog that we’re planning on transitioning our mobile devices directly from Android 11 to Android 13, i.e., skipping Android 12 release. You can read the full exert from our VP & GM of Mobile Computing, Julie Johnson, here.

At a high-level, skipping Android 12 allows us to minimize the gap from Google’s OS releases to the availability of the OS on our devices.

From a developer perspective, given the large number of changes required in Android 11 (E.g., Scoped Storage restrictions), this decision to skip Android 12 should provide a welcome break to the fast-paced nature of Android updates and the often-significant work required to support them. In short, any changes introduced in Android 12 won’t need to be supported until our Android 13 release, which should provide ample time to implement the changes required in your applications.

Additionally, for Android 12, Google have implemented three changes for enterprise devices. One of these changes, USB disablement, is already supported on our devices via our MX framework. For the other two changes, listed below, we haven't seen our customers request the functionality for their use-cases:

  1. Company-owned devices with a work profile can limit the input methods used in the personal profile to allow only system input methods.

  1. In Android 12 you can create a delegation scope. Enable and collect security log events by calling setDelegatedScopes() and passing DELEGATION_SECURITY_LOGGGING. Security logging helps organizations gather usage data from devices that can be parsed and programmatically evaluated for malicious or risky behaviour. Delegate apps can enable security logging, verify that logging is enabled, and retrieve the security logs.

We hope that this decision is welcomed by our developer community, as it has been with our customers. We encourage you to read the full blog post here & provide any feedback to your local Zebra representative.


James Swinton-Bland

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