Android keychain access


Google’s KeyChain API makes Android more attractive for the enterprise

Google has been working to ease manageability issues for Android developers focusing on enterprise environments, and now with ICS (Android 4.0), a new KeyChain API should help break down a few barriers that have previously made Android less than compatible with the corporate world.

Of course, the average user and business won’t notice the change, but for developers the API should solve a number of issues where multiple certificates may be shared across a number of apps such as Email and Browser. This is just one way that ICS opens the door for Android to make its way into the industry as BlackBerry continues to be kicked to the curb.

From Tim Bray on the Android developers blog:

To bridge the gap in ICS, there’s a new API named KeyChain that regulates application access to the system key store and allows users to grant application access to the credentials stored there. Additionally, this API enables applications to initiate installation of credentials from X.509 certificates and PKCS#12 key stores.

The KeyChain API is rather simple. To install a key store or a certificate, you retrieve an install intent, supply the raw bytes of the credentials, and use the intent to launch a system installation dialog. If it’s a keystore, as in the example below, you’ll need provide the data in PKCS#12 format, and the user will have to know the PKCS#12 password.

This feature follows a number of other improvements that make Android a much more attractive development platform. Other touted changes include improved security and encryption, VPN access, and powerful productivity features, which all go hand in hand with the more press friendly announcements.

If you’re an eager developer, you can check out the guide on how to utilize the KeyChain API in new apps.

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