June 18, 2012, 3:29 PM — Samsung announced a new program on Monday to help enterprise IT shops feel more confident about allowing workers to use the coming Galaxy S III smartphone on the job.
Galaxy S III smartphones sold by all five U.S. mobile carriers starting later in June and early July will be branded SAFE, for Samsung Approved for Enterprise.
The SAFE program means Samsung has set up support and quality assurance for 338 smartphone management policies important to IT, including 256-bit encryption on the device, enhanced support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync, support for leading Virtual Private Network software and for a number of Mobile Device Management systems.
The new 4.8-in., Android 4.0 smartphone will be sold starting in late June or July from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and US Cellular. Most list the price as $199.99 with a two-year contract.
Some U.S. carriers have begun taking pre-orders for the smartphone and Samsung officials said Friday that one of the biggest U.S. carriers has seen 44% of the pre-orders being made by business users. Business customers either pay for the devices themselves on their own accounts, or companies set up accounts for their workers and pay for them.
Android hasn't been the top choice of IT shops for ease in management partly because there are so many OS versions and models available, analysts have noted. Still, Android devices make up half of the smartphones sold around the globe, and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is in full swing, analysts said. Samsung is the largest producer of Android smartphones.
"Android has the ability to blow that [manageability] door right open, with Samsung dragging Android through the enterprise," Timothy Wager, vice president and general manager of Samsung enterprise sales, told Computerworld. "We're systematically going after the enterprise customer, on the most desireable device we can offer."
Wager said other Android smartphone makers have set up quality assurance programs for IT manageability with a single carrier, but this is the first time such a program will work across five carriers.
To provide SAFE quality assurance, Samsung has offered a Software Development Kit to MDM and VPN providers with access to Samsung's Application Programming Interfaces, allowing those vendors to integrate their software on the SAFE devices for each different wireless carrier, Wager said.