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Samsung's 'Knox' Smartphone Security Delayed; Worth the Wait?

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By William Peacock, Esq. on April 25, 2013 10:45 AM

As the new Samsung Galaxy S4 trickles into the hands of reviewers and consumers, one feature that many were anxiously awaiting is conspicuously absent: the previously announced and now-delayed Samsung Knox (as in Fort Knox), reports The New York Times. 

What is Knox? It's Samsung's answer to BlackBerry's IT security.

BlackBerry's survival to date is almost certainly due to its industry-leading security features. IT departments, lawyers and all others with a security fetish love the phone for that exact reason. Features like remote wipe for when you leave your BlackBerry at Starbucks (or when that employee defects to a rival company) mean that your sensitive client data won't end up online. BlackBerry's secure email service is also a well-loved feature.

iPhones have remote-wipe capabilities but little else. Android typically relies upon third-party apps for most security tasks.

Samsung's Knox will bring security hardened software to the Android smartphone. Among the many features are a sandboxed environment for business apps, remote wipe, and even remote control of app installations inside the sandbox. (The technical details can be found, in geek speak, at Samsung's website.)

The sandbox itself is the heart of the system. Most employees use company-provided devices for both business and personal use. This feature puts all business apps and data into a separate "sandbox" on the device. That means the IT department can control what apps are installed on that part of the phone while users control the rest of the device. Malware supposedly can't cross-over and run amok on company data.

The timing of the delay could mean more hope and another lifeline for BlackBerry. The near-dead smartphone maker has fallen from the top of the industry to barely-notable but with their two new smartphones and their new BlackBerry OS10, and a few more months to work their way back into IT departments' (and lawyers') hearts, this could be a window of opportunity to retake some market share.

On the other hand, for those who eagerly anticipated the release of the Galaxy S4 with Knox, the company has announced that the necessary components are on the phone. Knox itself will be activated in a few months after additional testing, reports ZDNet.

Are you a recovering Crackberry addict? Have you made the switch to an iPhone (like most lawyers) or an Android device? Will Samsung Knox make you more likely to consider an Android handset? Tweet us your thoughts @FindLawLP or find us on Facebook.

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