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How to prepare for the cloud worker era

The cloud has fundamentally transformed the world around us. In our personal lives, we stream media, order food, schedule transportation, and stay in touch with friends and family across devices. At work, enterprise developers like Cisco, Adobe, Citrix and VMware have redefined how we get our jobs done, making data and apps easily accessible when and where they’re needed. We call this the era of the cloud worker.

Today, employees expect access to the information and services they need without the barriers of legacy tools. Managers and admins want to move away from administrative tasks, like managing devices, and focus more on what has the most potential for real value creation.

A recent study we commissioned with Forrester found that one in four workers in today’s enterprises are already cloud workers. They spend, on average, 4.6 hours working in browser-based business apps across multiple devices, and regard the freedom to access company resources from any location as fundamental to their work/life balance. Additionally, the quantity of cloud-based apps businesses rely on is only increasing. In 2018 about 53 percent of apps are in the cloud. However, by 2020 it’s estimated that figure will be above 80 percent.

This increase in cloud adoption has made many businesses rethink the technology and tools they need to ensure their workforce is effective. Office workers are no longer sitting exclusively behind desks. Field teams need real-time connectivity when they’re working remotely or interacting with customers. Employees are increasingly on the move, and they expect their apps and devices to be as mobile and flexible as their workstyle. In fact, 77 percent say they prefer technologies that give them the freedom to choose how and where to get their work done.

At the same time, IT organizations entrusted with managing devices, browsers, and apps are rethinking how to best serve the needs of a cloud-centric workforce. They need reliable and secure tools and devices that give their users the flexibility they need while at the same time being simple for IT to manage and maintain.

At Google, we’ve found that cloud-native devices like Chromebooks not only increase employee collaboration and productivity, but also decrease IT support hours and operational overhead. For example, take device deployment and provisioning. At Google, we’ve found that it takes about 33 minutes for an inventory tech to prepare a Chrome OS machine to be deployed to an end user. For Windows devices, we’ve found it typically takes 2 hours and 21 minutes, and for macOS it takes 2 hours and 23 minutes. 

Device deployment and provisioning time

We’ve also found that we receive two to four times more support requests with macOS and Windows devices than we do with Chrome OS. Using cloud-first tools like Chromebooks can translate into substantial support savings over time.

ChromeOS Support Request Comparison

As the cloud-connected workplace continues to evolve, and an increasing number of employees transition from knowledge workers to cloud workers, selecting the right tools should be top of mind. The question to ask is, in the age of cloud worker, how can you best provide employees with technology that will improve their experience and create better results for your business?

To learn more about how you can prepare for the era of the cloud worker, register for Forrester’s Cloud Worker webinar, and explore resources on our website. For those of you attending NEXT ‘18, we’ll be hosting a Cloud Worker Showcase where you can meet with specialists, interact with demos, and explore the latest devices. Learn more on the Next ‘18 website.

AWS re:Invent 2018 is Coming – Are You Ready?

As I write this, there are just 138 days until re:Invent 2018. My colleagues on the events team are going all-out to make sure that you, our customer, will have the best possible experience in Las Vegas. After meeting with them, I decided to write this post so that you can have a better understanding […]

How to Avoid Misleading Vanity Metrics and Boost Business Growth

You measure things so that you can take action based on the outcome of those measurements. The danger with vanity metrics is that they make you feel like you are getting results without actually telling you anything useful about your business. In short…

Intelligent search: Coding answers at your fingertips

If you’re a developer you probably read through a lot of documentation, forums and discussions to find solutions to your coding questions, learn new programming languages or master new tools. It always takes a great deal of time and energy to read through the many long threads discussing similar problems and potential solutions before finally finding that one answer. 

Many of us are developers too, and we thought: what if Bing were intelligent enough to do this for us? What if it could save users’ time by automatically finding the exact piece of code containing the answer to the question? That is how Code Sample Answer was born.

You can see it live today on Bing by trying a query like “convert case using a function in R”, and we are sure you will appreciate how the code snippet is extracted for you from the article and surfaced right in the results in the requested programming language. If you need more context, the link below the code sample will take you directly to the corresponding article. And just to be clear – our support is not limited to the Microsoft family of programing languages.

How creating an Action can complement your Android app

Posted by Neto Marin – Actions on Google Developer Advocate

There are millions of apps in the Android ecosystem, so helping yours get discovered can require some investment. Your app needs to offer something that differentiates it from other si…

Android Emulator – AMD Processor & Hyper-V Support

Posted by Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

Since the major revamp of the Android Emulator two years ago, we have focused on delivering a fast and feature-rich emulator to help you build great app experiences for users. Today, the Android Emulator is the top device deployed to from Android Studio — more than 2x over physical Android devices. We are humbled to hear from many of you that the Android Emulator has come a long way, but we are not done yet.

Making the Android Emulator faster is one of the top priorities for the Android Studio team. Over the last few releases, we have launched quick boot & emulator snapshots for quickly starting and resuming emulator sessions in under 2 seconds. Up until now, our emulator experience has almost universally worked on macOS® and Linux computers. But for users of Microsoft® Windows® or the Microsoft® Hyper-V platform, our hardware accelerated speed enhancements for the Android Emulator only worked with computers with Intel® processors. Support for AMD® processors and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor are two long-standing user requests from the Android developer community that we are happy to address with this Android Emulator update.

Today, you can download the latest Android Emulator release, which is enabled to run x86 based Android Virtual Devices (AVD) on computers that use AMD processors. This exciting update makes the Android Emulator more accessible to a new set of Android app developers that were previously limited to software emulation, but can now have hardware accelerated performance. Moreover, for those of you who use Hyper-V to run your local app backend, the Android Emulator can now also coexist with other Hyper-V-backed applications on Windows® 10.

Thanks to a new Microsoft Windows Hypervisor Platform (WHPX) API and recent open-source contributions from Microsoft, even more Android app developers can take advantage of all the speed improvements and features in the Android Emulator.

Android Emulator running on Windows 10 with AMD Processor
Screenshot Configuration: Asus ROG Strix GL 702ZC, Processor: AMD® Ryzen 7 1700 Processor, Chipset: AMD 5350, Graphics: AMD® Radeon RX580

Support for these technologies was initially available in the v27.3.8 Android Emulator canary release and today we are releasing this set of preview features (AMD processor & Hyper-V support) on the stable channel for more feedback. Alongside this update, we have added additional speed improvements in loading emulator snapshots for those developers using the Intel® Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM).

How to use

Linux

If you use Linux for Android app development, the Android Emulator will continue to use the native Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor for both Intel and AMD based computers for a fast and performant virtualization solution. An update to the v27.3.8 Android Emulator will offer you the new snapshots UI along with improvements to performance, reliability and resource usage.

macOS

For OS X v10.10 Yosemite and higher, the Android Emulator uses the built-in Hypervisor.Framework by default, and falls back to using the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM) if Hypervisor.Framework fails to initialize (such as when running on OS X v10.9 or earlier). Once you update to the latest Android Emulator on macOS, you will also have access to the new snapshots UI along with under the hood performance and reliability improvements.

Android Emulator – Snapshots Extended Controls

Microsoft Windows

On Intel x86-based computers, the Android Emulator will continue to use Intel HAXM by default. Intel HAXM is a mature and open-sourced hypervisor solution developed by Intel. Thanks to on-going development by Intel, the fastest emulator performance on Windows is still with Intel HAXM. To download the latest Intel HAXM v7.2.0, check for updates in the Android SDK Manager.

If you have an AMD processor in your computer you need the following setup requirements to be in place:

  • AMD Processor – Recommended: AMD® Ryzen processors
  • Android Studio 3.2 Beta or higher – download via Android Studio Preview page
  • Android Emulator v27.3.8+ – download via Android Studio SDK Manager
  • x86 Android Virtual Device (AVD) – Create AVD
  • Windows 10 with April 2018 Update
  • Enable via Windows Features: “Windows Hypervisor Platform”

Windows Hypervisor Platform setting in Windows 10

If you want to use Hyper-V at the same time as the Android Emulator on your Intel processor-based computer, you will also need the same Android Studio and Android Emulator versions as listed above, but with the additional requirements:

  • Enable via Windows Features: “Hyper-V” – Only available for Windows 10 Professional/Education/Enterprise
  • Intel Processor : Intel® Core processor that supports Virtualization Technology (VT-x), Extended Page Tables (EPT), and Unrestricted Guest (UG) features. Additionally VT-x needs to be enabled in the BIOS.

For more setup tips and troubleshooting details, check out the documentation page.

Again, for existing Windows users who have an Intel-based processor, the Android Emulator will continue to use the faster and recommended Intel HAXM configuration. For those using AMD processors, and those who use Hyper-V hypervisors, this should be an exciting step forward to start using the Android Emulator.

Next Steps & Feedback

Download the latest Android Emulator from the Android Studio 3.2 Beta SDK Manager for the latest performance updates across all supported platforms that you are using. We are going to continue to invest in performance improvements for each of the platforms and we look forward to your feedback and feature requests.

If you find a bug or issue, feel free to file an issue. Connect with us — the Android Studio development team ‐ on our Google+ page or on Twitter.

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