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Samsung Looks To Stand Apart From Apple With Smartphones Geared To Business

While Apple’s focus with iPhone continues to be on the consumer, Samsung is increasingly taking business needs into consideration with new Galaxy phone releases.

As Apple prepares a rumored three new iPhones for unveiling on Wednesday, few observers are expecting a change from past iPhone events in terms of the amount of attention Apple will give to the needs of businesses and workers.

That is: next to no attention.

By contrast, Samsung's debuts of both the Galaxy S9, in February, and the Galaxy Note9, in August, featured a generous amount of airtime given to promoting the applicability of the phones for the business world.

[Related: Samsung Galaxy Note9 Gets Closer To 'Holy Grail' Of Laptop Replacement]

For instance, Samsung used the events to tout an Enterprise Edition of the Galaxy S9 and the usefulness of the Galaxy Note9 for on-the-go workers, thanks to its ability to power the DeX Android desktop and its pairing with an S Pen that can control PowerPoint presentations.

"We think it's a true differentiator for Samsung to be mindful of the needs of the business customer—which in many cases are very different than the needs of the consumer," Samsung mobile channel chief Mike Coleman told CRN in an interview. "So you're really trying to solve business problems that involve technology that's familiar at the consumer level, but so much more powerful at the business level."

The launch of the Note9 in late August followed other business-focused devices released by Samsung this year such as the Galaxy Tab Active2 tablet, which is sold exclusively by channel partners.

The products are helping Samsung in its push to recruit solution providers with mobility practices, Coleman said.

In terms of recruiting solution providers, "we are well ahead of plan at the moment, and tracking for north of plan for the year," Coleman said, though specific figures on the number of partners recruited were not available.

"We are experiencing very sizable growth. In fact, we'll about double the business this year over last year in revenue," he said.

Samsung is seeing the largest growth from partners that are dedicated to specific geographies within the U.S., Coleman said.

"We're on track to about triple that business, the geo business, year over year," he said.

Marco Nielsen, vice president of managed mobility services at Stratix, a Norcross, Ga.-based MSP and Samsung partner, said in an email to CRN that Samsung is undoubtedly "investing in the enterprise from a product and sales perspective."

"They're offering a level of collaboration at the field level that is very compelling," Nielsen said. "This collaboration is manifesting itself in terms of lead generation, active joint marketing programs and proactive roadmap discussions that are allowing partners to sell more Samsung products."

The collaboration is also creating opportunities to drive more attached rate revenue around Stratix's own mobile managed service offerings, he said.

B2B-focused devices like the Galaxy Note9 and the Galaxy Tab Active2 are crucial, Nielsen added.

"The synergies between these products for businesses now allow partners to offer end to end solutions into the enterprise," Nielsen said, pointing to features such as DeX, which is available with Samsung products including the Galaxy Note9 and the Galaxy Tab S4.

DeX offers a desktop Android experience powered by Samsung mobile devices. While DeX was previously only available by connecting a smartphone to a docking station or pad, users can now use DeX by connecting the Note9 or Tab S4 to a display via a USB-C to HDMI dongle.

"We are seeing strong technology features such as DeX on the Tab S4 that cater directly to enterprise requirements as well," Nielsen said. "All of these products give us the ability to work with customers on their most important business initiatives and with our managed mobility capabilities also provide services around the strong Samsung Knox technology tools."

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