Samsung's SAFE for Galaxy S III aims to help IT embrace Android

Device encryption, mobile device management software integration rivals BlackBerry Enterprise Server, analyst said

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Samsung also announced Safe2SSwitch, a trade-up program that gives users the ability to quickly see how much their smartphones are worth, so they can quickly trade in for a SAFE device. Through the program, a user will soon be able to scan a QR code with an existing smartphone to be taken to a site that can detect the smartphone model and present its value and provide directions for a trade-in to a SAFE smartphone. The QR codes will be published in computer trade magazines, Wagner said.

While the IT compliance inherent in SAFE will help companies feel more secure about their workers using the Galaxy S III, Wagner said it is the smartphone device that is driving sales. "IT compliance of a smartphone doesn't drive buying behavior; the device drives the behavior," he said.

The Galaxy S III has features that will attract business users, including a larger screen for reading emails and access to faster LTE networks. "The larger screen is a huge driver for the mobile pro," he said.

An added advantage of using an Android device inside an enterprise is that custom apps can be less expensive to develop, given Android is built on open-source software, Wagner added.

Kathryn Weldon, an analyst at Current Analysis, said that SAFE will help IT shops have more confidence in workers using Android. "But I'm not sure IT has much of a choice, as their employees will be bringing them in on a BYOD basis," she said.

One benefit of Samsung's approach is that Samsung is not creating its own MDM but is partnering with an established crop of them.

She said that SAFE in combination with MDM tools approaches the security and manageability of BlackBerry Enterprise Server, a mainstay of corporate users even with the decline of maker Research in Motion.

The benefit of SAFE with an MDM system is that a corporation won't need to pay for RIM licenses or work behind RIM's Network Operations Center or pay for ongoing maintenance, she said.

"Since SAFE will integrate with all the main MDM platforms, it presupposes an MDM platform already in place," she said. "Between the 300-plus IT policies of SAFE and the existing management control and base level security of an MDM platform, I do believe that the stigma in the enterprise for Android should start going away."

BES has support for more than 500 IT policies, more than the SAFE approach of 338, Wagnr admitted. "Today we don't do as much" as BES, he said, but he urged customers to consider where Android is headed compared to BlackBerry.

Andrew Braunberg, also an analyst at Current Analysis, agreed that programs such as SAFE will drive broader enterprise adoption of Android. "Without programs such as SAFE and HTCPro and others, Android really has no chance of being broadly supported by enterprise IT," he said. Samsung benefited in winning a diverse partnership with various MDM players, "no doubt driven by its leading position in the Android smartphone market," he said.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at  @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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