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Samsung to launch Galaxy S 4 without Knox security layer

Container support now pushed back to summer

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

After hyping it for months, Samsung has delayed the release of Knox, its new enterprise security framework for its Galaxy line of Android phones, sources claim.

The South Korean mobile maker first touted the new security features at February's Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, claiming they would ship with its forthcoming new flagship handset, the Galaxy S 4.

But sources have now told The New York Times that although the Galaxy S 4 is due to arrive in the US on Saturday, April 27, the full version of the Knox framework won't be on it.

Instead, Samsung has decided to withhold the software to allow more time for testing, and it now plans to ship the final version around July.

When contacted by the NYT for confirmation, Samsung responded with a statement admitting to the delay but offering a rather cryptic explanation, saying, "All the Knox framework components come standard on the device, with full-feature activation by solution providers and distribution channels to become available at a later date."

Knox is a combination of hardware and software components that can create a container on an Android phone to keep the user's business calendar, contacts, email, browser, and applications separate from personal data. The business container can be managed remotely by enterprise sysadmins.

The tech is widely seen as a shot across the bow of BlackBerry, which has long been a favorite platform for security-conscious mobile applications. BlackBerry is developing its own security sandboxing software for Android and iOS, called Secure Work Spaces, but when it plans to ship it is unknown.

Because of the technical hurdles involved in implementing Knox, however, Samsung won't make its technology available for existing handsets. It will only be supported on future Galaxy models, beginning with the S 4 – eventually, that is.

Incidentally, this isn't the first time Samsung's Galaxy S 4 rollout has encountered a stumbling block. The device was originally supposed to be available in AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile stores on Saturday, but Sprint and T-Mobile have both delayed retail availability into the following week, citing supply problems.

Not that any of this is likely to put punters off the Korean kit. Samsung now makes more than 40 per cent of all Android phones sold worldwide, and the company's previous flagship phone, the Galaxy S III, has handily outsold Apple's iPhone in recent quarters.

The Galaxy S 4 shows every sign of becoming a similar success – even if it won't be everything customers were hoping for at launch. ®

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