Samsung Galaxy S4 and Knox: iPhone versus Android just got exciting again

Samsung Galaxy S4 and Knox: iPhone versus Android just got exciting again

Summary: A new flagship Galaxy S4 and Samsung's renewed interest in managing smartphones in the enterprise means Apple, BlackBerry and Microsoft will be facing a determined new competitor.


Two separate pieces of news over the last couple of days have the potential to throw the enterprise smartphone market wide open again.

First, over the weekend Samsung confirmed that the Galaxy S4 — the next version of its flagship smartphone — is on the way, and soon. The handset will be unveiled in the middle of March in New York.

The timing of that announcement, at the start of the Mobile World Congress, will overshadow pretty much all of the subsequent announcements at the event (and shows that Samsung has learned some tricks from Apple, too).

But for the enterprise audience there was a second, just as intriguing, announcement: Samsung's 'Knox' initiative to create security hardened smartphone software that's more attractive to enterprise users.

Fort Knox

Knox is similar to BlackBerry's Balance system in that it allows IT admins to keep employees' personal and work data apart. Samsung said that Knox incorporates Security Enhanced (SE) Android to create a container that separates business and personal use of a mobile device.

This is enforced by SE Android and encryption at the file system level, which ought to cut data leakage, viruses and malware attacks.

"Easily accessible via an icon on the home screen, the Knox container presents a variety of enterprise applications in a secure environment including email, browser, contacts, calendars, file sharing, collaboration, CRM and business intelligence applications," the company said in a statement.

Knox could be an important differentiator over most of Samsung's Android device rivals, for whom BYOD and other enterprise mobility initiatives largely take a back seat, according to Tony Cripps, devices and platforms analyst at Ovum.

It also positions Samsung well to exploit any softening in demand among enterprises and 'prosumers' for BlackBerry devices. It can also take advantage of any reluctance by businesses to deploy applications and data on Apple iOS devices, added Cripps.

Knox is expected to be available on "selected" Galaxy phones by the second quarter of this year — and according to CNET, Samsung is considering embedding Knox into the Galaxy S4.

Android's struggles in the enterprise

Right now Android is dominant in the consumer market, with Android devices accounting for around two-thirds of all smartphones bought by consumers.

But in the enterprise the iPhone is very much the smartphone of choice, with BlackBerry and Windows Phone also targeting the business market. Android has found the enterprise a tougher sell because of perceptions that Android security is weaker.

The fragmentation of Android hasn't helped either: smartphones in enterprise tend to be high-end phones because they have to do more. Indeed, a common refrain from CIOs is that there's no problem with Android devices in the enterprise, so long as they are well managed.

The S3 is already the phone that most observers would point to as Android's enterprise phone (and the one most often compared to the iPhone).

A Galaxy S4 combined with a new emphasis on enterprise management could put pressure on BlackBerry and Windows Phone in the enterprise market, although the level of pent-up demand from workers and businesses for Android in the enterprise is currently an unknown quantity.

And considering the underwhelming response to the iPhone 5, the S4/Knox combo might also put a bit of pressure on Apple to raise its game too. After a long time, the enterprise smartphone market just got exciting again.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Consumerization, Mobility, MWC, Security, Bring Your Own Device

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  • Wow

    Does this site put No Technology Experience Required on their applications?
    • Work for Microsoft?

      Hey Slickjim, explain what your problem is. There's plenty of information in the article to research yourself. I'm guessing you and owll1net work for a Microsoft PR firm specializing in creating FUD when the competition starts heating up! Otherwise, give us some *facts* that independent people can research and shoot down.
      • What part of slickjim's post indicated that he was defending Microsoft?

        He could just as easily have been defending Apple, because, Apple is the current leader with the corporate environment.

        Seems to me that, you're the one being defensive regarding Android and or Samsung.
        • Wow - no wow

          IMHO it seems that the Microsoft reference was rather incidental. The point is that slickjim was posting some slander without any useful information for anyone to work with. So apart from the MS ref. the response makes a valid point.
          • Incidental? You gotta be kidding!

            The whole post was full of attacks against MS and the person, directly suggesting that, he must be working for MS. The poster made sure that MS was mentioned more than once, and no other company name was used directly or even indirectly.

            The meaning of "is", is not in dispute here. The remarks were an assumption that, the poster must be working for Microsoft, because the same kind of accusations have been made against "owll1net", who the poster you're defending mentioned. There is no question that the post was an anti-MS jab, and a jab against somebody because, he didn't agree with the blogger.

            Learn to read, and learn to put matters in context.
    • Another Article, Another Plug For Android!

      "NO JOURNALISTIC EXPERIENCE REQUIRED" Is the first line on the application I'm sure.
      EVERY smartphone article on ZD Net gives a positive responce to Android, and throws a negative jab at the rest, I guess Google is giving ZD Net preference in search results in exchange, Android IS a great OS no doubt, but so is iOS and WP8, that my friend is where no jounalistic experience required comes into play here.
    • ZDNET is pro Google and Apple these days

      If you can pick up a mobile device made by either company then you have the mojo to work at ZDNET! To the highest bidder goes the spoils.
  • Android or Google will remain Zero in Enterprise

    The latest news I heard is that WP8/Nokia Phones are adopted widely in the Enterprise. WP8 has Company Hub to easily manage and deploy enterprise apps. With Office, Sharepoint, Lync and Skype integrated, who want to deploy unsecure android in enterprise.
    • dream on.

      Since it isn't even out yet, no. the phone doesn't work that way.
    • Umm no!

      My company went with Droid RAZRs to replace the Blackberry's and the only way you're getting an iPhone is to buy it yourself and apply for the Good Program.

      I find that most choose the RAZR over buying an iPhone for work.

      Also, our company is world wide and has more than 50k employees in the USA Alone.
      • OK

        But they didn't deploy 50,000 phones.
    • way to make a fanboy statement

      Obviously Office, SharePoint and Lync are great benefits for the WP8, but you shouldn't try to sell the phone to the IT teams and the leadership but to the employees. If the employees don't like it for a main device, they wouldn't use it. Nobody wants to carry 2 phones when you only need one.
      And your statement about Android being unsecured lacks reasoning. There are more security programs for Android then iOS and WP8 combined. I personally trust the security vendors that have been in business for some time. Not phone or OS vendors.
      • Most of those "security" programs for Android don't do a thing

        To complicate it even more, Google approved 2 "security" programs in their App store that were active malware programs.

        There are over 1,000 different models of Androids floating around and all run operating systems that were specially modified by fragmented OEMs all trying to put their own secret sauce into their devices... as long as they are being sold.

        While I think some people hyper inflate the issues of Android there certainly isn't a security driven development process behind the software. It gets thrown on a phone and then forgetten as the next model takes priority.
        • 1000 androids?

          Really - that's a lot. Where did you get that number form?
        • A lot of talk about nothing

          Your opinion is full of empty accusations with no meaning. Either provide some justification or don't even bother wasting time typing it in. At this point I would point you to my previous comment as to that answers the downfalls that you are over-blowing....
        • Hmmm

          "Google approved 2 "security" programs in their App store that were active malware programs." Can you supply links to this or is it just a dream you had last night?
      • there are more security programs..

        When there are more "security programs", this only means there is weak security, that needs "hardening". That is, if Android is any secure, it wouldn't need any security programs.

        By the way, don't trust the security vendors. These are the primary source of computer security risks. The coin always has two sides -- at least until someone invents the Mobius strip based coins. :)
        • Apple banned security programs

          in case you didn't realise, it is impossible to run a proper "security" program on unrooted Android and non-jailbroken iOS.
          of course there's a lot more rooted androids than jailbroken iphones, but let's not let facts get in the way of a good story.
      • RE:way to make a fanboy statement

        Actually a lot of people don't mind carrying 2 phones. I'm one of them. I have a phone for work and another for personal use. It means I can switch off my work and be contactable by those with whom I have a private & social life without interference.
      • Well..

        The only reason a platform requires security vendors is because it isn't secure ground up.. Do the presence of those "vendors" make Andy more secure than the likes of ios or bb10 even? I'd doubt that.. It's just simple.. If the whole enterprise does not comprise of a nation of Sammy-Andy fanboys.. I don't see how the s4 is gonna appeal to them... When they could have slick ninjas like bb or ios (leaving out wp8 here, I believe it was developed for great things but it's just not there yet)