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Samsung Knox: a work phone inside your personal phone (hands-on)

Samsung Knox: a work phone inside your personal phone (hands-on)

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"BYOD" — Bring Your Own Device — is one of the hottest buzzphrases in business right now, the idea of users bringing in their own smartphones to use with their corporate email accounts rather than taking a company-issue BlackBerry that they don't really want. Samsung's Knox software tries to capitalize on that: your company installs it on your Galaxy device and you've got two distinct, secure environments for personal and business use.

It's not a new concept: LG first announced dual-boot Android phones to satisfy enterprise IT departments through a partnership with VMware in 2010, but Knox might be the easiest and simplest implementation around. An icon in the lower left of the phone's display lets the user switch between Personal and Knox environments; the two are totally segregated with different storage, apps, and credentials. A setting determines how long the user can go before Knox requires a password to open (and obviously, that's a setting that can be controlled by the IT staff). Switching between environments on the Galaxy S III test units that Samsung has out at Mobile World Congress is basically instantaneous — there's no lag, no delay, no boot time.

With iPhone use in corporate environments on the rise, deep enterprise support has been a focus for Samsung recently: airport terminals across the US are currently littered with ads for the Galaxy line's SAFE initiative, for instance, designed to make IT departments rest easy at night while Android phones are connected to the network. Knox launches in the second quarter.