The new Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone line offers business-friendly features aimed squarely at the enterprise. In fact, in addition to a slightly larger Samsung Galaxy S9+ version, the new line of smartphones includes an Enterprise edition that focuses on security and remote device management. Whether the Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone line has what it takes to steer attention away from the recently released iPhone X--as well as Apple's trio of new devices planned for later this year--remains to be seen.
Like all Samsung phones, the Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone comes with Knox, the company's mobile security platform. Knox provides real-time security monitoring at the hardware and software levels, and can prevent access to apps--such as Samsung Pay, for example--if a security intrusion is identified. Using Knox’s Secure Folder feature, business users can separate work data from personal data on the same device. Apps and data in the Secure Folder require a separate layer of authentication--such as iris or facial recognition--which helps protect sensitive information.
The S9 Enterprise edition adds the cloud-based Knox Configure feature, which can be used to remotely manage multiple devices. Administrators can make changes to settings, apps and restrictions over WiFi or cellular networks. Businesses can use their own logos and animations on the bootup and home screen screens, and the Enterprise S9 can be converted to a dedicated device with a single function.
Chris Koeneman, senior vice president of strategic solutions at remote mobile management provider MOBI, notes several other business-friendly features on the new S9.
“Call me old-fashioned, but I still need a physical headphone jack for business use, and the S9 still has one,” said Koeneman. “The S9 can also support a microSD card, which often comes in handy for businesses managing large files.” All S9 models ship with 64GB of internal memory.
Koeneman already uses Samsung’s DeX feature, a dock system that lets users connect the phone to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. The dock, which may appeal to business users who want to leave their laptop or tablet at home, gets an upgrade with the release of the new S9 smartphone.
“The newest version of DeX includes a flat dock that connects the phone to a monitor and includes an HDMI port, power and two USB ports--a nice accessory for business,” Koeneman said. Once set in the dock horizontally, the S9's screen can be used as a trackpad.
The S9+ is generally getting high marks for its display and camera options. The S9+ has dual cameras, and Samsung is offering a "dual aperture" lens that, like the human eye, automatically switches between various lighting conditions, according to Samsung. The Galaxy S9+ has a larger screen--6.2 inches vs. 5.8 for the Galaxy S9--and both business users and consumers are likely to appreciate the S9’s curved edge-to-edge display and high resolution (570 pixels per inch vs. 458 on the iPhone X.)
The phone uses two different chips: Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 for phones sold in Europe and the Snapdragon 845 from Qualcomm for phones sold in much of the rest of the world, including the United States. In early benchmark testing from Ananatech, the S9’s processing power appeared to lag behind that of the A11 Bionic chip on Apple’s iPhone X. However, more conclusive tests won’t be available until after the S9 ships, on March 16. The phone comes with Android's latest operating system, 8.0 (Oreo).
Samsung says it’s improved the phone’s internal microphone to reduce noise during recording, which may also appeal to business users who need to capture audio at meetings and presentations. It’s also water-resistant, at up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes, the company says, and allows fast wired and wireless charging.
Business travelers may appreciate Bixby Vision, the phone’s real-time translation feature. Point the S9’s camera at text in up to 40 different languages--for example, signs or currency--and you’ll get a nearly instant translation, as long as you’re connected to a cellular network or WiFi.
Samsung says the Galaxy S9 Enterprise edition is sold unlocked so that organizations can choose their own carriers and service. Prices for the Galaxy S9 vary by carrier, but run about $200 less than Apple’s iPhone X, which starts at $999 for the 64GB model.