Version Control Agent & Apps via Managed Google Play
You’re honestly not really missing anything. Decent version control is simply not there in Managed Play today. Despite making big advancements in AE, Google still has a long way to go in terms of the enterprise use case. The only way to have true version control right now is to distribute the APKs directly to the devices via SOTI package. This may involve pulling APKs from mirror sites.
Its a shame to have such a powerfull tool at hand but you currently can not make sure business critical processes arent running into errors, because an app or the agent was autoupdated..
So Matt are you then never upgrading the agents or are you blocking / unblocking access to google play to have them updated after you tested the agent update on a device with free access?
When for example MXConfig is depreciated, how are we supposed to make sure Zebra isnt crashing config / devices with a new version? There are Bugs in every Software and i dont want the manafacturer to be responsible for my devices running into errors, even Soti has Bugs time to time..
We should be able to choose which version etc. we want to get pushed to our devices via playstore or be allowed to hold update backs to make sure they fully work.
Update Process via Playstore is smooth with private applications though, there you can really make sure everything works.
Maybe SOTI can implement an AppUpdate Process for Packages similar to the one with playstore apps:
Kind Regards John
As per last update from SOTI & Google, currently Google doesn't have APIs to manage app updates individually. Either it's all update or No Update. Google may be working on to develop such API and then SOTI use those APIs to build this feature to control each app updates separately.
For now we can use Block all updates via Mobicontrol profile which blocks auto updates but manually from Play store, apps can be updated(which is not best I know).
The only applications that we approve for distribution from the Public Play store are the MobiControl agent and OEMConfig. Even then, I do have concerns over a future update breaking the functionality of one of those tools. We have already seen examples of this:
I know this one is only about 4 months old and I remember talking to some of the Google people at SOTI SYNC back in October about this but has there been any movement on this? The companies that I work for have issues. We have auto update turned on for some of our devices but it seems as though we are at the mercy of the device and when it wants to update. Especially if a device is in a kiosk mode. We have apps that we want to be updated(Parsable and GoCanvas) but then we have others like SAP Fiori that we want to control when they get updated. We do use Activity Suppression on our lock screen so I am not sure if that is what is preventing our apps from auto updating when they are locked down. Should we be adding the managed play store to the lockscreen? Just wondering. Thanks in advance.
There has been no movement as far as I am aware. Managed Play continues to fall short for the Dedicated Device space. I avoid using it at all costs due to all of the inconsistencies in update frequency and complete lack of version control. The excuse that it has to leverage the same Play Store architecture does not hold up with me and I don't particularly see the advantage of being able to take advantage of the larger Play Store server architecture if it can't actually consistently update our devices at specified times. You may be forced into pulling the apps from an apk mirror and then distributing them directly to the devices via SOTI Packages. Thankfully SOTI still allows for direct app installation bypassing the Play Store infrastructure as you can use the Profile system for controlling specific versions and update windows.
There are criteria for apps updating through Play Store that also need to be met before an update is pushed. Last I checked these included that the app being updated not be in use, that the device be idle, and that the device be in a charging state. We have many environments where the devices have replaceable batteries that have their own charging bays. The devices never end up in a charging state because the batteries are being charged and swapped out. Does Google expect us to cycle the devices manually through a charging cradle just so they can receive an app update.
It should take some time before granular control of individual app version control be introduced as Android-Enterprise platform features evolve.
For now, there is some control on disallowing individual app by changing the approval option related to app version/permission change in managed Google play store.
Also, some device OEM's provide OEMCOnfig compliant option(s) to list what apps can be upgraded (e.g. Knox Sevice Plug-in for Samsung AE-DO devices ).
Upgrade of MobiControl device agent is special and cannot be mixed up with other apps, and therefore should be considered separatelly. The usual safe approach is first to confirm the stability of the device agent on a test device on hand before considering how and when to deploy the verified device agent over-the-air. Silent push with file-sync rule may work for some device models, while others might need end-user some interactions on the device screeen.