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Samsung Developer Conference 2019: 5 Big Moves In B2B

The company debuts a new rugged tablet for sale exclusively by channel partners and announces a refreshed Knox partner program during the conference.

As the Samsung Developer Conference 2019 takes place this week in San Jose, there will be a new element on the keynote stage.

On Wednesday, Taher Behbehani, general manager of the mobile B2B division at Samsung Electronics America, is among the Samsung executives providing a keynote.

[Related: Samsung Getting 'Significant Scale' With Mobility Channel Program, Launching New Device Tryout Program]

"This is the first time that Samsung B2B is getting on the stage at any of these events--which is I think a proof point that B2B is becoming a lot more important for Samsung," Behbehani told CRN. "There's a lot more focus on it."

Mike Coleman, vice president and mobility channel chief at Samsung Electronics America, told CRN that Samsung's mobility B2B business is seeing rapid growth in the U.S. this year--with growth for 2019 expected at 70 percent.

"We absolutely want businesses to build an ecosystem around our devices," Coleman said. "We've become very B2B-centric—very B2B friendly."

As evidence of this B2B expansion within Samsung, the company is using its 2019 developer conference to unveil a number of new enhancements for channel partners and business customers, including a new business tablet and a refresh to Samsung’s Knox Partner Program.

What follows are five big Samsung moves in B2B at the Samsung Developer Conference 2019.

Galaxy Tab Active Pro

Following the debut of the Galaxy Tab Active2 in 2018--a rugged Android tablet for business--Samsung on Wednesday announced the launch of a successor model with the Galaxy Tab Active Pro.

Updates with the Tab Active Pro include a larger display at 10.1 inches, versus 8 inches on the previous model, along with expanded battery life at 16 hours compared to 11 hours previously.

Another new addition is that the new tablet supports DeX, Samsung's feature that lets users pull up an Android desktop on an external screen by plugging in a Galaxy device.

Like the prior model, the Galaxy Tab Active Pro offers business-friendly features such as the ability to use with gloves; strong durability and water resistance; and eFOTA (enterprise firmware over-the-air) management to ensure continuous security and control.

Knox Partner Program

With the refresh to Samsung's Knox Partner program, the company is aiming to make it easier for ISVs and developers to create applications on Samsung devices--with benefits such as open access to development tools (available to partners at the bronze level and above).

Regional support will be available to partners at the silver level and above, while leading solutions from partners at the gold level and above will be showcased on samsungknox.com.

Partners who are at the gold level and above will also receive access to test devices, Samsung said.

All tiers will receive the benefit of Knox validation--manual technical verification of the

implementation of Knox in partners' solutions, Samsung said.

Project AppStack

Samsung said it's rolling out a new component for B2B SaaS and native app delivery, called Project AppStack.

"AppStack is really a new way of delivering applications directly to Samsung devices," Behbehani told CRN.

For new business customers, the customers will provide information on their business and on the apps that they need to run their business, he said.

"When this device is activated, these apps are downloaded directly to the device," Behbehani said.

B2B Community

Additionally, Samsung announced it's debuting an online community for connecting partners, business customers and developers.

Using the community site, businesses will be able to share business problems they are facing, while developers and solution providers can gain insights into the issues, Samsung said.

Channel Partner Impact

Samsung B2B executives said they are aiming to take a comprehensive approach to enabling greater channel partner growth with the company's devices and solutions.

Along with launching purpose-built devices such as the Galaxy Tab Active Pro, Samsung understands that customers are looking to partners for more than just hardware, Behbehani said.

"In order for the channel partner to sell more [devices], they need to bundle [the devices] with apps," he said. "We're creating an ecosystem that the channel partner, the app developer and the ISV can bundle these apps on the go, directly for the enterprise need. That's the key."

As Coleman puts it, "we offer the devices but we make sure they solve real business problems. And our channel partners have become very, very proficient at that. That's where we've seen most of our growth of late."

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