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Galaxy S6 edge an impressive enterprise phone -- with one big exception

Al Sacco | May 13, 2015
Samsung, one of the largest and most popular Android partners, has slowly been making inroads in enterprise. Last month, the company released its two new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, which are identical except for the GS6 edge's curved display and slightly larger battery.

Samsung, one of the largest and most popular Android partners, has slowly been making inroads in enterprise. Last month, the company released its two new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, which are identical except for the GS6 edge's curved display and slightly larger battery.

Due to the popularity of Samsung's Galaxy S devices, it's easy to find GS6 reviews, but our evaluation is written specifically for business users — and the IT staffers who need to support them. I've been using both devices regularly for almost two months, though I gravitated to the GS6 edge. As such this evaluation is focused on the GS6 edge, though most of conclusions apply to both phones.

Is the GS6 edge a good BYOD device? Does it meet all the basic needs of today's business-oriented "power users?" Which GS6 phone is better-suited for enterprise use? And are there any shortcomings IT and corporate users need to know about?

You'll find the answers to each of these questions, and many more, in the following pages. First up, the good stuff ...

What you'll like about the Galaxy S6 edge: Security, style, screen and specs

The most important business-oriented feature in the Galaxy S6 edge is KNOX, Samsung's security platform that's built into the Android OS. 

KNOX lets IT admins use a variety of popular mobile device management (MDM) tools to manage Samsung devices, including BlackBerry, AirWatch, SOTI, MobileIron, Citrix, FAMOC, Good Technology and MaaS360. KNOX provides more than 1,500 MDM APIs. It has federal information security certifications from multiple governments, including Australia, Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom and the United States. And the U.S. FBI currently uses KNOX to manage more than 28,000 devices, according to Eric McCarty, vice president of mobile product marketing, Samsung Business.

KNOX Workspace lets IT separate work and personal data on corporate-managed devices, but GS6 users automatically get a variety of KNOX security features, even if their IT departments choose not to deploy Workspace. The My KNOX app, which is available on the Google Play store, also lets business users create their own "containers," to separate work and personal data. I tested My KNOX, and though it's a bit buggy (more on that coming up), it mostly works as advertised, and it's more intuitive than some other containerization options I've tried. (I'm looking at you, BlackBerry Balance.) 

KNOX also works seamlessly with, and complements, Android for Work, the security platform Google built into Android v5 "Lollipop," so IT departments can choose which specific security feature they want to use, or employ a variety of features from both KNOX and Android for Work, McCarty says.

Of course, KNOX isn't perfect, and it does have some BYOD shortcomings. (Read this comparison of KNOX and Android for Work, from my InfoWorld.com colleague Galen Gruman, for specifics. Samsung also provided an official feature comparison document for KNOX and Android for Work.)

 

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