Google pushes Android into the office, launching battle with Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry

Google is releasing a set of tools designed for businesses and employees who want to get work done on smartphones running on the company's Android software.

The technology unveiled Wednesday launches Google's attempt to turn Android phones into the digital hub of people's personal and professional lives. The expansion will pit Google Inc. against Microsoft Corp. and BlackBerry Inc., which have been focusing on the corporate market for years. Google will also be battling its biggest rival in mobile computing, Apple Inc., which forged a partnership with IBM Corp. last year to build more iPhone and iPad applications tailored for businesses and government agencies.

Google announced its Android for Work program at a conference eight months ago, but needed more time to test the technology before its release.