Samsung may be seen as the black sheep of the Android OEM family, but this latest partnership shows it is still in Google's graces. The two will be working together to bring Samsung's KNOX security framework to all of Android land by the time the next "Android L" version hits devices.
The reasons for such a venture is almost too obvious. Now that Android has a foothold in the consumer market, Google wants it to become a fixture in the enterprise as well. As it turns out, Samsung already has the framework for that. Last year, it unveiled Samsung KNOX as the ultimate enterprise security solution in a not-so-subtle attempt to grab a portion of BlackBerry's market pie. The jury is still out on whether it actually managed to accomplish that.
In theory, KNOX works with containers, something like walled gardens where users can store sensitive data that are encrypted and cannot be so easily accessed. This is where employees and employers will theoretically store work files, contacts, and whatnot, separate from their personal data and independent of each other.
Samsung KNOX has had mixed reaction in the Android world. Samsung has credited it for getting some of its devices approved for office use in several government agencies. However, some have pointed out and proven how easy it was to actually compromise a KNOX-secured smartphone.
Outside of the enterprise, however, Samsung KNOX carries a stigma in some circles of the Android community. Samsung has been notorious for going its own way and KNOX was largely seen as the manufacturer's attempt to further lock down its devices. The fact that it is a stumbling block for rooting and flashing doesn't endear itself to the modding community either. With Google now trying to integrate KNOX into Android L, there could be fears that this represents another attempt by the Android maker to exert an even stronger hold on the platform.