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Red Hat + Samsung: an Android-focused Answer to IBM-Apple's Enterprise Apps Partnership

by Gina Luk | Jul 01, 2015

At its Red Hat Summit last week, Red Hat announced a partnership with Samsung Business Services aimed at pairing mobile apps developed on Red Hat Mobile Application Platform with Samsung enterprise mobile devices, particularly those supporting the KNOX security and enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform. The approach could be an Android-focused answer to the IBM/Apple enterprise apps/device partnership.

Red Hat and Samsung will jointly develop a series of applications built on Red Hat’s middleware and mobile application development platforms that will optimized for the Android OS (but will also support other mobile platforms, the company’s say). Samsung Business Services will deliver the solutions. Applications planed for the collaborative program include:

  • Business intelligence: analytics and data apps customized for mobile form factor
  • Field and customer service: apps designed for task workers in the field (i.e. utilities workers, field technicians, shop-floor retail POS)
  • Inventory management (warehouse workers, retail scenarios, delivery personnel)
  • Sales task management (contracts,CRM, pricing)

Delivery of the joint solutions is expected in H2 2015, when Red Hat and Samsung will have joint go-to-market initiatives around the offering.  

With its Red Hat Mobility technology — acquired from its 2014 buyout of mobile middleware provider Feed Henry — Red Hat is now a direct participant in the enterprise mobility application development and management market. Since the Feed Henry acquisition, the Red Hat Mobility team itself has expanded rapidly. In particular, Red Hat Mobility’s codeless development tools have taken off in a range of industries, according to the company. The tools allow line-of-business and non-technical business teams to quickly prototype or fully functional mobile applications via drag-and-drop tools and wizards. The process provides a quick path to developing an app from the end-user GUI on the device to back-end connections to data sources, cloud services and server-side applications.

Red Hat offers a SDK and APIs that to allow for more formal development and testing of applications meant for large-scale mobile deployments. Often, Red Hat says, apps begin with the drag-and-drop creation as a proof of concept, and are then handed over to developers for more rigorous coding, security patch-ups and fine-turning for full deployment quality. This method — LOB-designed, tested mobile apps to IT-deployment — eliminates lengthy back-and-forth cycles between IT and business users, allowing the LOBs to spec exactly what they need from an app, then let IT put the finishing touches on the technology.

The Red Hat/Samsung approach follows the IBM/Apple MobileFirst for iOS partnership, which pairs industry-specific IBM mobility applications — airlines, finance, retail, etc. — with Apple smartphone, tablet and app ecosystem capabilities. So far, MobileFirst for iOS has been well-received, as both Apple and IBM have strong visibility in enterprise IT departments. The approach offers industry-specific solutions, addressing very specific workloads and use cases for enterprises investing in Apple devices and IBM business applications. But with Android smartphones accounting for nearly 60% of all business smartphones (closer to  70% of BYOD phones, and almost half of corporate-liable), the market is clearly ready for an application/device partnership which focuses on Android. Red Hat and Samsung are in a good position to meet the need, but the proof will be in the execution — i.e. making their tool set relevant to how mobile-oriented businesses operate.  

Related Reading:
 SA Insight Report: Red Hat Looks to Enterprise Mobility, IoT as Growth Drivers

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