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Samsung Partners with VMware to Turn Galaxy S8 Into a Productivity Tool

Samsung’s DeX docking station (pictured) lets users operate the Galaxy S8 like a PC, and an alliance with VMware will eventually add the ability to stream Windows desktops and applications to the new smartphone.

By Rich Freeman

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has released the Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones and an accompanying docking station solution, and announced a partnership with VMware Inc. to stream virtual desktops and applications to those devices.

Cumulatively, the moves seek to turn what has historically been an immensely popular but consumer-oriented mobile handset into a business productivity tool as well.

Equipped with an 8MP front camera and 12MP rear camera, the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ feature nearly bezel-free cases and a new voice-based user interface named Bixby. The Samsung Knox platform contributes what the vendor calls “defense-grade” security.

Samsung DeX, also unveiled today, lets Galaxy S8 and S8+ users interact with line-of-business solutions, mobile apps, and cloud services running on their smartphone through a full-sized external display, keyboard, and mouse. The system utilizes a new desktop-style UI as well that includes resizable windows, contextual menus, and a customized web browser.

The end result is an Android-powered version of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP Inc.’s Elite x3 device, which utilizes a desktop docking station and lap dock to turn a Windows Mobile-based smartphone into a desktop and notebook PC as well. The Samsung DeX’s specialized UI, meanwhile, resembles Microsoft’s Windows Continuum technology, which automatically optimizes a device’s interface based on whether it’s being operated in touch or keyboard mode.

“The ability to connect the S8 via a dock to a screen, keyboard and mouse is extremely impressive,” said Geoff Blaber, vice president for the Americas at global analyst house CCS Insight, in media comments. “Although Microsoft has done this in the past the performance of the S8 makes it a very compelling experience.”

The alliance revealed today between Samsung and VMware, of Palo Alto, Calif., extends the power of the Galaxy S8 and Samsung DeX tandem by allowing users to access complete Windows desktops and cloud-based workspaces in the office and on the go, and enjoy a consistent user experience when doing so.

Working together, the two vendors will enable Galaxy S8 users to run virtual desktops and applications on the Samsung DeX via VMware’s Horizon virtual desktop infrastructure solution and enjoy an identical digital experience when undocked via Workspace ONE, VMware’s consolidated solution for application, endpoint, and access management plus virtual desktop and application delivery.

VMware declined to specify when that functionality would reach market.

“VMware and Samsung share a common vision of helping Galaxy S8 end-users experience the full capabilities of the device while delivering an elegant end-user experience,” said Sumit Dhawan, senior vice president and general manager for end user computing at VMware, in a press statement. “Our expanded partnership will further enable business end-users to remain productive by delivering a unified digital workspace experience that offers continuity whether they are using the mobile device from a desk connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, or in the palm of their hands using touch and gesture interactions—elevating the experience of mobile workers to the next level.”