Samsung launches Galaxy S4 with improved software and Knox security

Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4 – which was released in New York – aims to boost software and Android OS security

Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, was released in New York yesterday.

Samsung aims to boost software and Android operating system (OS) security with the Galaxy S4.

The 130g smartphone uses an 8-core processor. It has a five inch, 441ppi high-definition Amoled screen that uses Gorilla Glass 3. The smartphone also has a front-facing camera and a new 13-megapixel camera, both of which can be used at the same time, according to Samsung.

Blogging about the launch, Forrester analyst Charles Golvin said he was most impressed by the software built into the S4. 

Golvin wrote: “Samsung has invested significantly in software and it is paying off. 

"Its real differentiation lies in the software it has built to leverage the phone's hardware. From the ability to composite images from both cameras simultaneously, to compositing sound with still images, to embedded language translation integrated with voice to text and text to voice, Samsung's much-improved software skills translate to a wealth of new experiences for their customers.”

Golvin noted that the Samsung has also developed software for the sensors and unique features on the S4 to use barometer, temperature and humidity sensors, the latest Wi-Fi technology (802.11ac) and the IR gesture sensor.  

IT departments should also welcome the S4, according to Golvin, since Samsung has built in software to tackle the poor security record of the Android OS.

Last year Samsung was slammed due to a loophole in the security of its flagship S3 smartphone, found by German researcher Ravi Borgaonkar.

Golvin said: “Samsung recognised that CIOs remain concerned about the security of Android devices, and has invested significantly to establish its Galaxy devices as reinforced for the enterprise. 

"Its Knox software for managing work and personal data separation appeals to the BYOD trend.” 

Knox provides securing booting when the S4 starts up, enhancements to Android that separate data from applications and Tima, a technology Samsung said offers continuous monitoring of the system. 

Knox also allows the IT department to separate work from personal use. The S4 presents the user with a different environment in work mode, which Samsung claims is separate from the personal use environment. It offers an encrypted file system, virtual private network and mobile device management support.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Tony Cripps, devices and platforms analyst at Ovum noted that, with Knox, Samsung is offering enterprise-grade mobile security, which makes it an alternative to Blackberry Enterprise Server. 

“Samsung can also take advantage of any reluctance by businesses to deploy applications and data on Apple iOS devices,” Cripps said.

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