With the reveal of its next flagship phone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Samsung continues to be a driving force in the smart phone market with innovation and features unmatched in the Android space and as the primary competitor to Apple in the high-end of the market. The new Galaxy S9 and S9+ offer improvements to the camera system, a faster processor developed by Qualcomm, and a new set of color options.
But one area that doesn’t get as much attention is Samsung’s push to grow the Galaxy Enterprise Edition segment, a drive to gain market share in the often ignored and recently decentralized business sales side of mobile devices.
This is a market that was at one time totally controlled by RIM and the Blackberry brand of phones. Businesses depended on the reliability and management capabilities that RIM focused on. Blackberry was synonymous with business professionals and for productivity in the mobile space. As the mainstream consumer began to adopt Blackberry devices, and the company’s direction faltered against the introduction of Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone, RIM lost hold of the business segment.
No true replacement ever took hold in the enterprise market, and instead we saw the creation of a disjointed space with no clear leader. Many employers that were concerned about security started using dedicated non-flagship phones from various vendors that promised better security and longer lifespans with guaranteed updates. For the employees that were becoming accustomed to a flagship-level product, a trend of carrying two phones started – one for business communications and another for personal. This created an entirely new security concern as there was obvious overlap between devices.
A trend of BYOD (bring your own device) is one of the more recent and popular trends for consumers and employees, but creates a nightmare of management for corporate IT departments.
The Samsung Enterprise versions of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ provide additional features and capabilities for the IT departments of big business to feel comfortable distributing them. The Samsung Knox brand and platform has been implemented for several years and offers what it calls “defense-grade” security with added features to make using it more convenient. Knox guarantees 4 years of security updates past the standard market availability of the device, critical for enterprise systems that see longer than average upgrade cycles.
Knox Configure allows administrators to remotely configure and provision devices as part of an added service from Samsung while over-the-air firmware updates pushed by IT ensures that all devices on the network have the most recent security and stability patches applied. Samsung boasts certification from various governmental agencies including the US Department of Defense. Samsung offers purchase assurance with guaranteed availability of the same devices for at least two years after initial shipment.
Beyond security, these latest Samsung phone offers interesting features that business users are more likely to need. That starts with large screens and support for multi-tasking applications. Multi-tasking is a common practice on notebooks and PCs but more rare on mobile devices that typically cater to media consumption exclusively. Though Apple offers multi-tasking on its iPad family with the most recent OS updates, it still doesn’t provide that natively on the iPhone.
Samsung DeX is a docking product that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ devices can attach to and create a more PC-like experience using their smartphone. It allows business users to use keyboards and other accessories and to operate in an environment more suitable for getting productivity work completed efficiently. This is well matched for verticals like retail and medical, but has applications across a range of areas thanks to upgraded monitor resolution support and “app snap” that can save the state of your work from mobile to docked transitions.
Maybe just as important, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ offer the same flagship-level features as the standard models that employees will appreciate and lower the chances of them using a second phone. With a screen size and resolution that exceed that of the iPhone X, arguably the most advanced camera in a smartphone, the fastest mobile processor on Android from Qualcomm, and the latest in connectivity capability including 1.2 Gbps cellular LTE connection, Samsung hopes to offer the best of both worlds in a single, unified package.
Apple still holds market share leadership in the enterprise mobile space thanks in large part to the assumed security advantages it has over Android. And while that has clearly been the case for iPhone over the last decade, Samsung has developed a program that can address the pain points consumers have targeted including long-term security and platform stability.
As the only major smartphone vendor to actively develop and target the enterprise market, Samsung is showing its leadership position in the field. Though it may take time to have the market share over Apple in the space, it has laid out a product portfolio and roadmap that addresses a unique and underserved market.