In the past, enterprise customers and app developers needed to pay a license fee to take advantage of Knox Platform for Enterprise (KPE) extensions. But as of July 2021, this license is now free.

KPE is a large set of Samsung-specific Android extensions that provide additional configuration and security options for Galaxy smartphones and tablets. These additional options are accessed through your apps, whether you’re an app developer using Samsung Knox Software Development Kit (SDK), or a mobile device management (MDM) vendor using the Knox Service Plugin (KSP).

How Knox SDK extensions work

The Knox SDK extends Android Enterprise in several areas: granular device configuration, kiosk configurations, advanced security options, Android settings changes, virtual private network (VPN) configuration, device customization and more. Both standard and premium KPE features are included in the Knox SDK, all now free of charge. (Other Knox solutions, such as Knox Configure, Knox Manage and Universal Credential Management, still require license fees.)

Why use Knox SDK? Because this is where Samsung innovates beyond standard Android. For example, Samsung Knox includes continuous multifactor authentication (MFA), which extends the typical Android MFA. With continuous MFA — based on facial recognition — the Galaxy smartphone continuously checks that the person using the device still matches the biometric information the owner has stored. If the user doesn’t match, the device will lock itself. This premium Knox feature is an example of an additional security option for enterprises who want next-level protection.

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The Knox SDK is the key for developers to unlock all of the additional value of KPE. For example, if you’re a VPN provider, you might have written an Android app to configure devices to talk to your VPN service. But what about differentiation for enterprise customers? You can use the Knox SDK’s extended Samsung VPN capabilities, such as having the VPN service operate only for apps running inside a work profile. Now that this doesn’t require a license cost, you can easily deliver advanced Samsung Knox capabilities to your app users and differentiate your service offerings.

Here’s another example: Let’s suppose you’re using consumer devices to build a consumer-facing business tool, such as an in-flight entertainment system. The Knox SDK provides easy access to features such as changing the device branding during boot-up and shutdown, as well as managing audio and display controls. By unlocking the configuration capabilities of Samsung’s hardware, the Knox SDK extensions speed development and shorten the time-to-market for independent software and system vendors.

How the Knox Service Plugin works

One other thing for developers to note: with the zero-cost license for KPE, now is a great time to include support for Knox Service Plugin (KSP) in any MDM tools. This lets you deliver 0-day Knox feature access to all of your customers who are using Samsung smartphones.

KSP is Samsung’s OEMConfig app. OEMConfig is a way for companies like Samsung to deliver device-specific configuration and control without requiring the device management vendor to make any changes to their product. If the tool supports OEMConfig, then the customer can use the KSP — so that everything Samsung delivers as part of our custom Android extensions is instantly available in the device management product. More importantly, whenever Samsung updates KSP, that update enables device management tools to deliver zero-day support for new Samsung features.

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Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro, for example, is a smartphone designed for enterprises who need a more rugged solution than a typical smartphone. In addition to the durable hardware, Galaxy XCover Pro also features a programmable external button that can be configured using the KSP. In Microsoft Teams, for example, this button can be mapped to a push-to-talk (PTT) function, making it easy for Galaxy XCover Pro users in the field to use the new Teams Walkie-Talkie features. KSP makes it easy to turn on Walkie-Talkie in any MDM/EMM/UEM solution that supports OEMConfig.

Most MDM/EMM/UEM vendors have already included OEMConfig in their products. But now that the additional functionality is free for Samsung customers, it’s a great time for all providers of device management tools to add support for OEMConfig.

Developers who want to learn more should start by signing up at Samsung’s Partners website. Free KPE licenses are available with full documentation on the Samsung Knox SDK.

Browse Samsung’s versatile range of business devices built on the Samsung Knox security and management platform. Get started with MDM so your organization can spend less and do more — securely and efficiently — with this free beginner’s guide.

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Balamurugan Thinagarajan

Balamurugan Thinagarajan is Product manager for Tactical Edition and OS Customization and Director of Software Product Management at Samsung Electronics America. He has 19 years of experience in enterprise mobility and previously helped integrate and deploy security solutions to address the technology needs of the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies.

View more posts by Balamurugan Thinagarajan