Samsung tries to beat Apple in the enterprise with enterprise-focused mobility enhancements

Over the last year or so, Samsung has been doing a lot in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space. They have SAFE, their enhanced mobile device management (MDM) APIs, and KNOX, their built-in dual persona mobile app management (MAM) solution.

Over the last year or so, Samsung has been doing a lot in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space. They have SAFE, their enhanced mobile device management (MDM) APIs, and KNOX, their built-in dual persona mobile app management (MAM) solution. We've covered these in the past, but there's more going on: last week they announced the debut of the Samsung Mobile SDK and the Samsung Solutions Exchange. In addition, the Samsung Developers Conference is coming up in a few weeks.

With the opening of the Solutions Exchange, Samsung is opening up its SDK and APIs to third-party partners. The SDK basically consists of smaller components that were previously available, but now they’re all gathered in one place. For right now, the Solutions Exchange itself appears to be mostly a list of different partners vendors.

The Samsung Developers Conference will be October 27-29 in San Francisco. It will cover the new Samsung SDK in general, as well as programming for KNOX. I’ll be there to cover everything from the enterprise mobility management angle.

Collectively, all of this activity shows that Samsung is making a concerted effort to cater to the enterprise. 

So what does this mean for IT pros dealing with enterprise mobility management?

First off, if you’re using MDM to administer a heterogeneous device environment, the SAFE MDM APIs mean that you can at least rely on Samsung mobile devices to have a level of manageability on par with iOS.

I don’t want to comment on the Apple versus Samsung debate or get in some sort of religious war or anything, but anecdotally, contacts at several MDM vendors have told me that the vast majority of end user devices under management are iOS. However, of the Android devices in use, they say that the vast majority of those are Samsung. This is good, because it means that potentially, now only a very small fraction of devices in your environment are going to run versions of Android with sub-par management features. If you’re using MDM in a BYOD or choose-your-own-device situation the SAFE MDM APIs will definitely be helpful.

Then there are all the other more advanced features in the Samsung Mobile SDK. There’s much less of a BYOD play here, because if you build corporate apps that require Samsung APIs, then all your iPhone users are out of luck.

Still, there’s a whole range of use cases where this is okay—basically any situation where a company hands a device to employee. This includes places where phones and tablets are replacing older embedded devices, acting as kiosks, getting shared among multiple users, and so on.

There’s also the possibility of using SAFE and KNOX devices to replace BlackBerrys. If KNOX means that you can have a reasonably high level of security but still allow users to install personal apps, then isn’t that a much better alternative to a device that’s completely locked down. Not to mention that because it’s Android, it’ll actually have all the apps users want, unlike BlackBerry.

So what do you think? Do Samsung APIs figure into how you’re using MDM? Could SAFE or KNOX devices be adequate BlackBerry replacements for your company? Leave a comment and let us know.

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