Samsung: New Galaxy phones are built for enterprise use

It's pitching the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge as popular, stylish -- and secure -- alternatives for businesspeople who might otherwise be thinking about iPhones.

09cwd klossner samsung s6 smartphones
John Klossner, © Computerworld

Smartphone makers are targeting the enterprise market like never before, unleashing a slew of third-party productivity and management apps for both end users and IT shops.

Amid all the recent moves, Samsung has made the biggest play: At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in early March, the company announced that it would deploy software from the likes of Google, BlackBerry, Oracle, Citrix and Microsoft in its stylish new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge devices.

Office in the Galaxy

Microsoft's Office 365 suite is even due to be available on the two smartphones, set to be used behind Samsung's Knox security and management firewall, Samsung officials said at MWC. That move echoes Microsoft's decision to offer Office for the iPad and other devices and highlights the company's focus on expanding the ecosystem for its successful productivity software.

Both of Samsung's new phones have 5.1-in. displays and are due to ship on April 10 in 20 countries, including the U.S. Although the Galaxy S6 was listed for $780 unlocked on Samsung's website in Spain, prices will vary by carrier and country. The Edge, which features a glass screen that curves around both side edges, will likely be more expensive.

Both phones ditch the much-criticized plastic case of last year's Galaxy S5 (which, despite that drawback, was still the second-best-selling phone in 2014, behind the iPhone 5S).


As with the iPhone, the allure of an elegant, premium-priced smartphone -- especially one like the Edge -- is hard for users to resist. The phones, which run Android 5.0 Lolli­pop, are likely to be about as attractive to enterprise end users as the iPhone 6 and the HTC One M9, also unveiled at MWC.

Meanwhile, IT managers remain caught between a desire to keep end users happy and productive, and a need to manage data and ensure application security on phones used for both work and personal tasks. Samsung is betting that its latest devices will be popular with IT managers who must craft usage policies and deploy mobile device management and mobile application management software.

Good Looks

Phone design matters to businesspeople as much as it does to mainstream consumers, said Andrew Ko, vice president of the enterprise business team at Samsung. "IT wants security to protect corporate assets, but it should also ask if this is a device [workers] want to carry."

Injong Rhee, head of Samsung's Knox business unit, noted that the company's latest Knox 2.4 software for security and management will work on both new Samsung phones. While many observers have questioned the value of Knox, analyst firm Gartner recently awarded it the top ranking for security controls when compared to other security and management products. Specifically, Gartner ranked Knox "strong" in 11 of 16 security control categories, including authentication, encryption, app updates, secure key store, app monitoring and control, secure remote access and device firewall.

Rhee said Knox offers "defense-grade" security and ticked off a list of worker-focused productivity features that are available in the new phones. They include embedded wireless Qi charging for batteries lasting up to 20 hours with regular use, the ability to charge half the battery in just 10 minutes when a phone is plugged into a wall outlet, Gorilla Glass 4 durability for the glass front and back, and fast 64-bit processing.

Rhee also cited Knox support for leading management and security software products from AirWatch, BlackBerry, CA, MobileIron, SAP, Oracle, Juniper, Cisco, Citrix and Centrify.


Calling the phones "enterprise-ready," Rhee said they will "work with the back-end infrastructure already in place."

Both Samsung phones will also have OneDrive, OneNote and Skype preinstalled, and enterprises using Knox will be able to get twice as much OneDrive cloud storage as consumers get. The result for Knox users: 100GB free for a year.

Samsung defended the lack of a microSD storage expansion slot on the devices, saying it was unnecessary because of the cloud storage options, which could simplify enterprise security by eliminating the loss or theft of corporate data. While the batteries are not removable -- a first on Galaxy smartphones -- wireless capabilities and quick wall charging are seen as more than making up for that change. The iPhone has never had a storage slot or removable battery, and Samsung said cloud storage and battery improvements have finally made it possible to shift in that direction.

With both phones, Samsung is incorporating Android for Work features alongside Knox and BlackBerry's WorkLife and SecuSuite products for hardware-based end-to-end encryption. That not only allows users to keep work and personal data separate -- it also makes it possible for them to receive separate bills for work and personal use.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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