Android L release could bring the OS to ATMs, self-service kiosks

While Google has only released a developer preview for Android L, many of the things we will see in the final version of the OS are already here.


On the I/O stage last month, Google said it’s enhancing security in Android L for better device management and privacy for enterprises using the OS. It has also tied up with Samsung to bring its Knox security suite to Android natively, but one of the features that was left out of the announcements is Task Locking.


Android Police reports that Task Locking would allow one app to take over your device without letting other apps show notifications or load activities. Users will not be allowed to switch apps either, so that just the top app is running and cannot be closed.


Of course, such a feature could be problematic especially in the light of proliferation of malware on Android, so Task Locking is not likely to be used for mainstream devices. It’s intended, instead, for custom builds based on Android, to be used for specialised purposes or devices. As the report says, “The operating system must be configured to grant special rights to a single, pre-selected application which will be able to activate and deactivate the locking mode as needed.”


It’s interesting to see such a feature for Android at a time when many banking institutions are preparing to move away from Windows XP, which has been the dominant OS in that field. With Microsoft ending XP support for all customers this year, Google could fill the void with Android, which is familiar and open source, allowing tailored builds.


By enabling Task Locking on devices, IT admins can greatly restrict transfer of data between apps and can greatly control security of devices. In addition, Google says, “This could be used, for example, if you are developing an education app to support high stakes assessment requirements on Android.”

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