Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz recently proclaimed that “Mobile is eating the world” – and it’s not hard to see why. Demand for mobile software is at an all-time high, with Android and iOS completely dominating the mobile OS market. In fact, Android’s sizeable market share accounts for more than 80% of smartphones and 60% of tablets worldwide.

Due to its open nature, Android is the obvious choice for ISVs and device manufacturers looking to develop industrial gear. The low-cost, customizable operating system is expected to have a massive impact on the IoT – a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the industry.

Tech giant Google is already leveraging Android’s open-source code and has built dedicated operating systems for Android Wear, Android Auto, and Android TV, across all verticals. Microsoft, too, wants to get in on the act. Rumor has it that the Redmond-based company is considering adding Android support to its Windows mobile platform.

Yet, despite these overwhelming votes of confidence, traditional B2B ISVs are still taking a cautious approach when it comes to Android adoption. Their concerns over IP theft, reverse engineering, and unauthorized usage, while legitimate, can easily be overcome by implementing a professional software monetization solution. Protecting one’s intellectual property has the added advantage of preventing revenue loss, which should be a motivating factor for any ISV.

Software Protection

When it comes to security, many ISVs opt to do it themselves using the free code obfuscation tools in the Android NDK. Some use Native C to make reverse-engineering even more difficult, as it provides important functionality and valuable logic.

However ISVs choose to protect their code, it can be tricky finding a flexible and secure licensing solution for Android that’s also capable of turning software into cash.

Gemalto’s (previously SafeNet) industry-leading software monetization solutions for Android provide a comprehensive IP protection and licensing experience. With just one click, Sentinel’s out-of-the-box envelope tool encrypts the selected Java code, as well as the entire DEX file, safeguarding your APK from reverse engineering and other anti-debugging measures. And because each ISV’s library will be obfuscated and encrypted separately, hackers will not be able to devise a common crack method. Sensitive data such as configuration files are also encrypted and licensed separately, so only protected APKs with a valid license can decrypt and open them. This level of protection is recommended for a number of industries, for example eLearning, which often requires video content encryption.

Gemalto’s solutions are available as both hardware and software licensing keys. The fact that many Android devices don’t come with standard USB ports makes the need for flexible and secure software licensing 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.

Licensing Experience

With IP protection taken care of, ISVs will want to ensure a smooth licensing experience.

Gemalto’s licensing solution for Android – as with other supported OSs – enables a number of flexible licensing models such as perpetual, duration, expiration date, and execution counter. Of course, managing disparate licenses across multiple OSs can be complicated and stressful. By unifying their back-office, ISVs can streamline this experience with no additional effort or investment. Gemalto’s “protect once, deliver many” technology allows ISVs to differentiate and package their products according to market needs.

Although it’s too soon to tell whether mobile is, in fact, “eating the world”, the industry is evolving and Gemalto is evolving right alongside it.