This morning, Samsung and Red Bend Software announced that they have partnered to trial a virtualization product that will allow enterprises to manage two separate "personas" on their employees' personal Android-powered Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphones, one for corporate information and one for personal data.
Today it appears that Samsung and Red Bend are tipping their caps to BlackBerry—imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all—by offering their own version of BlackBerry Balance for the Galaxy SIII smartphone. (Red Bend's email pitch featured the subject line: "First BYOD Smartphone to Enter Enterprise Trials," which seems to suggest that the company is unfamiliar with BlackBerry Balance, but something tells me that's not actually the case.)
I've reached out to Red Bend PR for more details and specifics, and I'll update this post with any relevant information I receive, but the new solution, which uses Red Bend Type-1 mobile hypervisor software to virtualize two different Android operating systems, is set to begin enterprise trials in Q2 2013. Galaxy SIII devices running the Red Bend software can be managed and secured using the company's True Solution for BYOD.
Considering RIM has been talking up BlackBerry Balance for years and it's already officially available as part of the new BlackBerry 10 mobile OS and BES 10 management software, Red Bend probably has some catching up to do. The product also runs on top of the Android OS, and it's not a native part of the OS like Balance, so I can't help but wonder about performance issues. The news is noteworthy, though, because of the popularity of the Galaxy SIII smartphone and the general hesitance of security-conscious businesses to embrace Android.
The announcement represents the latest move in an effort to make Samsung's Android devices more enterprise friendly. The company's SAFE (Samsung for Enterprise) initiative is centered around convincing businesses that Android, widely believed to be the most insecure mobile OS on the market, isn't so scary—at least when it runs on approved Samsung handhelds. But many critics say Samsung SAFE is lacking when compared to other enterprise mobility offerings from other companies, including BlackBerry.
The idea behind BlackBerry Balance is innovative and unique, and I've praised the offering multiple times in this blog, so it's not surprising to see rival handset maker's taking a cue from BlackBerry's playbook—poor pun shamefully intended.
Businesses interested in the new dual-persona BYOD offering for Samsung Galaxy SIII devices can contact Red Bend for a demonstration or to request a trial.