One Smart Phone, Two Personalities

AT&T and others want Android phones to provide users separate work and personal modes on the same device.

Image credit: Technology Review

By Tom Simonite

AT&T, the second largest wireless carrier in the U.S., and Qualcomm, which dominates the market for smart-phone processors, want to give your phone a split identity. The companies are separately adopting technology that can make a smart phone secure enough to keep IT bosses happy, but open enough to allow its owner to install apps or surf the Web.

AT&T will release its version of the technology, called Toggle, for Android phones this year. Someone using a device with Toggle installed taps the home button twice to flip between personal and work modes. The personal mode behaves like a regular phone and is fully under the user’s control. The work mode looks like a separate phone with its own desktop and suite of apps and is secured by a password. Its functionality is constrained by a company’s IT policy; all data stored or created under the work mode, whether e-mail, contacts, or Web downloads, is encrypted and can be remotely wiped if a phone is lost or stolen.


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