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Software Monetization in an Android World Android’s dominance in the mobile market has got everyone talking. Its sizeable market share accounts for more than 80% of smartphones and 60% of tablets worldwide. But what does this mean for ISVs and, by extension, device manufacturers? We asked Senior Product Manager of Software Monetization at Gemalto, Philip Zhu, for his take on “Android Fever” and how it might be leveraged to everyone’s advantage.
What makes Android such an attractive proposition for ISVs and device manufacturers?Unlike iOS, Android is an open-source platform that can be customized at a relatively low cost. This is great for anyone looking to enter the IoT space, whether their offering is intended for consumer or industrial use. Case in point, Google has built dedicated operating systems for its Android Wear, Android Auto, and Android TV ranges, and now rumor has it that Microsoft is considering adding Android support to its Windows mobile platform.
Those are some pretty big votes of confidence. Why is it, then, that traditional B2B ISVs are still apprehensive about adopting Android?I think it comes down to security concerns such as IP theft, reverse engineering, and unauthorized usage. While these are all valid points, they are easily overcome by implementing a professional software monetization program as part of your overall business strategy. If further incentive is needed, IP protection has the added benefit of preventing revenue loss, which I’m sure is the underlying goal of every business.
Speaking of security, can’t ISVs just protect their code themselves?They can; some use the free code obfuscation tools available in the Android NDK, while others use Native C for increased protection. But to do so is a failure to see the bigger picture. ISVs that focus solely on keeping their code under lock and key are more likely to miss out on ways of capitalizing on new trends and expanding their business. That’s where Android licensing proves so valuable. It is a bridge between software security and software monetization.
What are the advantages of implementing a software monetization solution like Gemalto’s?For a start, our solutions are geared toward anyone developing on Android, providing a comprehensive IP protection and licensing experience. For instance, Sentinel Envelope is an out-of-the-box tool that encrypts selected Java code, as well as the entire DEX file, with just one click. This makes it easy to safeguard your APK from reverse engineering and other anti-debugging measures. You needn’t worry about hackers being able to devise a common crack method because each ISV’s library is obfuscated and encrypted separately. The same goes for configuration files and other sensitive data, which are encrypted and licensed separately so as to ensure that only protected APKs with a valid license can decrypt and open them. There are several industries that stand to benefit from this level of protection – particularly those that require video content encryption – eLearning being one example.
Are Gemalto’s solutions available in different form factors?Yes. Our solutions are available as both hardware and software licensing keys. Nowadays, many Android devices don’t come with standard USB ports, so the need for flexible and secure software licensing is all the more important. A solution that’s capable of cross-locking a machine’s fingerprint with its unique device ID is considerably more secure.
Besides IP protection, what measures should ISVs take to ensure a smooth licensing experience?They should opt for a flexible licensing solution; one that offers licensing models as diverse as perpetual, duration, expiration date, and execution counter. In this respect, Gemalto’s licensing solution for Android is a perfect fit as it caters to every possible use case scenario. Our “protect once, deliver many” technology enables ISVs to differentiate and package their products according to market needs. To truly streamline their business operations, I would recommend integrating Gemalto’s entitlement management system with their back office. This allows for easy management of disparate licenses across multiple platforms, and requires no additional effort or investment.