BlackBerry and Samsung have separately launched security and management software with dual-personality features for their latest Z10 and Galaxy S 4 smartphones, respectively. But Samsung has delayed its strongly marketed Knox for Samsung server software, and BlackBerry reportedly has had delayed carrier deployment of its Balance for BlackBerry service. (BlackBerry's management server for Balance is available to enterprises, but the carrier option was meant for small businesses that do not manage their own IT.)
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Just how available are the touted dual-personality feaures?
Dual-personality software keeps personal and work data separate on a smartphone, allowing an IT shop to quickly delete sensitive corporate data from a worker-owned smartphone should the worker lose the device or leave the company without affecting the user's personal data. It also separates user apps and data from work apps and data to prevent malware from crossing over or corporate information from being intermigled with personal information.
Samsung's Knox client software is installed in the firmware of its latest Galaxy S 4 smartphone, which started shipping last weekend. But Samsung admitted that the activation of all Knox's features won't be available until "a later date," depending on activations of server software by its distribution channels, which includes hundreds of cellular carriers that support Samsung products.
BlackBerry used Samsung's Knox delays as an excuse to promote its similar Balance technology. But analysts wonder how many carriers or enterprises have actually installed and activated the server-side software that supports Balance, called BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. BlackBerry didn't respond when asked to comment on the number of BES 10 activations or how far along it has gone in working with carriers to support small business users of Balance that don't have IT shops.
BlackBerry said in its latest earnings call that it expects a small decline in services revenue to 35 percent, down from 36 percent, of all revenues in the first quarter. That decline has prompted questions about the number of carriers and enterprises that are installing BES 10, which is essential to making Balance function.
Many enterprises are side-stepping BES 10 altogether in favor of smartphone management features contained in Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), said Bob Egan, an analyst at the Sepharim Group. The BlackBerry 10 OS is the first BlackBerry operating system that works with EAS; previous versions required BES to gain any security. EAS is used by Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows Phone for many of their security capabilities.