Nubo Thinks It Can Solve Enterprise Mobile Problems By Virtualizing Android

Israeli startup Nubo is one of the companies at Startup Alley showing off their product at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. The company offers enterprises an answer to their mobile device deployment woes, and it’s one that’s different from most mobile device management solutions. MDM usually involves locking down local content and managing devices individually, which can be complicated and time-consuming. Nubo actually runs Android on a server,

That means it can completely control which apps appear on the platform, and what users can and can’t access on their devices. It also means no files are even stored locally, so enterprises have complete end-to-end control over documents. Plus, the experience is one that’s familiar to many users already, since it’s essentially a stock Android launcher (with a custom, enterprise app mobile dashboard as well).

There are obviously going to be issues with this approach; under the dire network circumstances in a congested conference hall with very crowded Wi-Fi, performance was somewhat laggy on both an iPad and an Android smartphone Nubo founder Israel Lifshitz used to demo the product. But under decent network conditions, over both Wi-Fi and cellular, the performance is virtually the same as locally run software, Lifshitz says.

Nubo CTO Ron Munitz explained that a huge advantage to this vs. other solutions is the fact that there’s unfettered access to the Google Play store for enterprise deployments. That means someone setting up the device can provide access to consumer apps like Twitter and others that might be useful but that might be harder to provide on other enterprise-specific secure sandboxes.

“We have nothing on the device. It’s very good for organizations because they don’t want enterprise information to travel with devices,” Lifshitz said. “But they still want to provide users with access to enterprise apps and data.”

Today, the company is officially launching its Android application, but it can work on iOS devices, too. The software is currently almost ready for launch on Apple’s mobile OS, and it’s incredibly strange to watch Android essentially running on an iPhone or iPad with the beta software. The startup says it’s coming soon, but one does have to wonder if Apple is thrilled about an app that essentially puts Android on its devices.

Still, remote access of Windows machines is standard for iOS apps, and there’s a strong case for making it available. There are no customers on the platform yet, but Nubo is just launching today and says it has already spoken with some enterprise CTOs who are interested in seeing what they have to offer. Mobile enterprise management is definitely an ongoing issue with no perfect solution as of yet, so Nubo’s approach could definitely find a receptive audience.