Samsung today announced the worldwide commercial availability of its updated Enterprise Security and Management suite for Android - KNOX 2.0 - which is available first on the Galaxy S5, and with other Galaxy devices to follow via OS updates.

The original version of KNOX was first launched with the Galaxy Note 3 in late 2013, and offers additional controls and policies for IT Admins wishing to allow Android phones into the enterprise. KNOX brings a level of control to the enterprise by incorporating a secure boot chain and enterprise-controlled containers which allow both consumer and enterprise data to exist on the same device.

KNOX 2.0 evolves the feature set and branding, with the core platform and app container being re-branded to KNOX Workspace. The entire KNOX brand now includes KNOX Workspace, EMM, Marketplace, and Customization. The original KNOX 1.0 MDM is fully compatible with KNOX 2.0.

Changes to KNOX Workspace include:

  • TrustZone-Protected Certificate Management
  • KNOX Key Store
  • Real-Time Protection
  • TrustZone-Protected ODE
  • Two factor authentication support with Biometric Authentication
  • Enhanced Framework
  • Enhanced features for the KNOX container allowing support for all Android apps from the Google Play Store, eliminating the need to perform app wrapping for third party apps
  • Third party container support
  • Universal MDM Client and Samsung Enterprise Gateway to simplify user enrollment
  • Split-Billing
  • A multi-vendor VPN framework that allows a variety of 3rd party clients including SSL VPN
  • An open SmartCard framework that allows enterprises to choose from an array of smartcard readers

Most of these changes are to make the IT Admin’s job a lot easier, which in theory should increase adoption rate, but there is one change that is aimed squarely at the consumer – Split-billing.

Split-billing works with the SIM provider to allow separate billing for personal apps and company apps. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing likely depends on whether your company pays your cell bill in full, or if they expect you to pay for it. It opens the door to allowing companies to only pay for their portion of the bill without using a dual SIM phone. It’s an interesting idea but I don’t think it comes with any sort of arbitration in the event there is a billing dispute between the employer and employee.

The other components of KNOX are:

  • KNOX EMM – a cloud-based MDM and directory service with single sign-on (SSO) including a set of policies for companies to implement
  • KNOX Marketplace – a marketplace for SMBs to find and purchase enterprise cloud apps
  • KNOX Customization – a way to create customized business to business solutions using off the shelf hardware

Clearly, Samsung has gotten a taste of the enterprise market, which is certainly a higher margin environment than the consumer market. Enterprises will pay well for a quality product with a decent return on investment, and of course Samsung would love to take some of the MDM management market share away from the likes of Blackberry and others, as well as get a hold in the BYOD market that Apple has done well with.

If you’d like to learn more, Samsung has released a white paper outlining KNOX here.

Source: Samsung

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  • DanNeely - Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - link

    The real question is if the Feds will decide this is good enough to finish checking all the boxes on Samsung's IA scorecard, that currently only Blackberry has filled in, and grant them access to the more paranoid parts of the US Govt.
  • dsumanik - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    Its pretty crazy how badly blackberry blew it. Literally has to be one of the biggest all time corporate fails in history... market domination to nothing in 5 years....with virtually no attempts made to stifle the losses lol... they could have bought webOS to get something out before bb10, switched to android, switched windows many options, so much fail. Its like everyone in the world knew it was happening except them LOL.
  • retrospooty - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    "they could have bought webOS to get something out before bb10" - It wouldnt have mattered. QNX was already good, but it took them 3 years from partnering up with it (and later buying it) to release a phone. True, they didnt act soon enough, obviously, but they are just too slow, even when they do act they cant produce. 3 years from an already good OS to a released phone that was 1 year behind what everyone else already had = fail.
  • meltbox360 - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    If they had adopted android it wouldn't have got them anywhere. They would lose ALL credibility in terms of security. as a side note only Samsung is making money on android, it's not like switching to android would have saved them. As for QNX being ready and them taking a long time. QNX is not BlackBerry 10 just like Linux is not Android. BlackBerry 10 brought along an entirely new, rebuilt, secure android app player with it. That alone takes months to get out the door. They also brought out cascades, a new browser that they worked on and is ridiculously quick, smooth, and has flash player support. Then there's the keyboard which they partnered for and the entire UI paradigm which they had to come up with. Arguably parts of the OS are similar to things that have existed but it's damn near impossible to make a COMPLETELY unique os. They did a pretty good job. BlackBerry 10 is just a different beast. It's way more secure than anything out there and quickly gaining on features as well as apps through the android app player and third party devs. Great stuff except in some markets, and especially the US, people have this instinct to bash them, say their going out of business, and refuse to five them an honest look. Then they go and buy up all the Samsung phones which IMO I don't understand. So many nicer phones out there. The power of advertising.
  • sonicmerlin - Friday, May 9, 2014 - link

    The browser isn't as smooth as iOS Safari or WP's Internet explorer. It's not laggy or stuttery like android's browsers, but it's not perfectly, oil slick smooth either.
  • Penti - Monday, May 12, 2014 - link

    Back in early 2011 they had BlackBerry PlayBook OS. It was warrented to spend another (almost) two years to get the phone right. They didn't have the tools, SDK/PDK, Android runtime and other stuff ready, but neither did WebOS at the time. They did manage to release with features that Windows Phone still hasn't got (8.1 is just in preview as of yet). HP never managed to truly get the Pre3 out. Then gave up. At least Blackberry did develop something. They would be worse of with Windows Phone. There was just no platform the first years and to many restrictions. BB10 has delivered on Qt toolkit and Android runtime. Nokia was forced to cancel all their products on Qt thanks to the agreement with Microsoft. WebOS used it somewhat but nowhere to the extent BB10 does. Plus they got the enterprise features ready, you know the stuff that Windows Phone 8.1 is just getting now, but without the ability to separate apps/work spaces the same way BB does. Research In Motion as it was named never dominated the market, their best year is about 50 million sold, Symbian was always bigger and Android, iPhone had the growth that could continue while Symbian (together with MeeGo) was canceled, WebOS was canceled back in 2011. Blackberry couldn't hold that kind of volumes with OS 6/7 or any other unfinished platforms.
  • davidedney123 - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    Call me a cynic but considering the quality of the rest of the software Samsung produce I have very, very low expectations for this product. I'd be willing to bet a very large sum of money that it is absolutely full of holes.
  • retrospooty - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    Knox is pretty robust if "locked down" and security is your goal. I wouldnt buy anything with knowxon it for those reasons, but for a corporation, it works.
  • meltbox360 - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    Well except that unless they went through the android player and all those other bits of android there are still weak points. I'm curious as to how well it is done. I have my doubts but I could very well be wrong.
  • JeffFlanagan - Thursday, May 8, 2014 - link

    What have you had problems with? I'm pretty impressed with Samsung's implementation of multiple-window support in Android.

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