Samsung gets more enterprise-friendly with the Galaxy S4By Lynn Greiner
When Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy S4 (GS4) during a splashy event at Radio City Music Hall last week, it also heralded the advent of its first device in another realm: corporate-friendly smartphones. Yes, it has all of the cool, shiny features that users love. The 5 (actually, 4.99) inch HD Super AMOLED screen offers 1920 x 1080 resolution, and appeared clear and bright during the brief hands-on that attendees were allowed after the launch festivities. The phone is a bit thinner and a bit lighter than its predecessor, the GS3, at 5.4 x 2.7 x 0.31 inches and 4.6 ounces; it was impossible to tell how it actually feels in the hand at the event, thanks to the giant security lock attached to the back. They certainly did not want any of their demo units to stray!
The rear camera is an impressive 13 mp and the front-facing camera, 2 mp; the interesting feature here is that you can insert an image from the front camera into a photo taken on the rear camera. The intent was to allow the designated photographer (usually Dad) to appear in family photos (and videos), but it could also be used in business by, for example, a real estate agent inserting him or herself into photos of properties for sale.
Samsung has dubbed the GS4 “Life Companion,” and it has some nice apps included that make it useful for business folks as well as consumers. S Translator, for example, is a cloud-based app that lets you say or type something into the GS4 and have it translated – in text or spoken – into one of 10 languages, including English, French, Latin American Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese and others. S Translator integrates into the email and chat apps as well as running standalone, and includes basic functionality installed in the phone for times when the user can’t get online.
S Voice Drive reads emails aloud, transcribes spoken responses, places calls, and provides turn-by-turn directions for drivers, so they can keep both hands on the wheel. It’s an update to the panned version from the GS3; time will tell whether it’s been turned into something usable.
However, the big feature that will make the GS4 more acceptable to business is KNOX (yes, named for Fort Knox). Announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it ties in with the Samsung for Enterprise (SAFE) initiative that the company launched to make its Android devices more acceptable to business. KNOX incorporates Security Enhanced (SE) Android (Jelly Bean flavor, to be exact) and file system encryption, and puts personal and business data and apps into separate, secured containers.
KNOX takes care of niceties like enterprise single sign on (SSO), Active Directory support, and smart card multi-factor authentication. There’s no VPN included, but devices support Cisco and Juniper VPNs. Samsung says that these features all become available with zero change to any apps.
Add a mobile device management (MDM) product to the infrastructure, and admins will have control of the business side of the device, able to erase its contents remotely should the device be lost, stolen or its owner leave the company.
Samsung is only the second smartphone company that seems to take enterprise needs seriously. BlackBerry, whose heritage is in the corporate world, was the first. Its challenge was to encourage consumer use of its devices while preserving the integrity of its corporate side; its solution is BlackBerry Balance. Samsung faces the opposite challenge: making what’s essentially a consumer device respectable in the enterprise. The GS4, which is expected to ship in April, will be the first phone that supports KNOX. It’s also the first Samsung device to have embedded support for HP mobile printing.From all indications, the GS4 is an evolutionary release, not revolutionary. But the enterprise-friendly additions may let it evolve into a phone that’s fit for work as well as play.
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About the Author
Lynn Greiner is a freelance journalist specializing in information technology and business topics. She is also an IT professional, giving her real-world experience that allows her to cut through the hype and address topics that are relevant in the business world. Her articles have been published in both print and online publications, including itWorld Canada, Computer Dealer News, CIO.com, DevSource, Canadian Security, ACM netWorker, Security Matters, GlobeTechnology.com, Canadian Technology and Business, InformIT, Computing Canada, and many others. Find her @LynnGr.
Author's Website: http://itwriter.com/
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