BlackBerry and Samsung team up to beef up security on Samsung devices

BlackBerry to offer end-to-end encryption for Samsung's Knox software, in an unlikely partnership between competitors.

Nate Ralph Associate Editor
Associate Editor Nate Ralph is an aspiring wordsmith, covering mobile software and hardware for CNET Reviews. His hobbies include dismantling gadgets, waxing poetic about obscure ASCII games, and wandering through airports.
Nate Ralph

BlackBerry CEO John Chen Nate Ralph/CNET

At an enterprise event in San Francisco on Thursday, Samsung and BlackBerry announced a partnership that couples Samsung's Knox platform with BlackBerry's enterprise know-how. It's all built on BlackBerry's upcoming BlackBerry Enterprise Services 12 platform, and aims to bolster Android security by leveraging BlackBerry's end-to-end encryption expertise.

This seems like a strange move for BlackBerry, as executives were keen to point out: BlackBerry CEO John Chen went so far as to joke that he was torn on whether or not to wish Samsung well in the future. But the partnership makes a lot of sense: while BlackBerry's smartphone market share has declined, the company's reputation as an enterprise-and-security powerhouse remains strong.

Samsung, by contrast, has taken a notable lead in the US marketplace, and has made inroads into bridging the work and personal device divide. The company's business-focused Knox has been positioned as an answer the Bring Your Own Device debate, by allowing folks on Samsung smartphones and tablets to seamlessly transition between work and personal data, quickly and securely, on a single device. While the security software has gotten the nod from places as high as the Pentagon, there have been reports of security flaws that have shed some doubt on the service.

This partnership with BlackBerry would strengthen Knox's security pedigree, while simultaneously injecting BlackBerry's BES 12 software into companies that decides to adopt Samsung's Knox platform. It'll be available early next year, with more information on subscription prices to come.