Samsung attacks the mobile enterprise, hoping to fill a vacuum

As Blackberry(s bby), once the favored phone of the chattering business class, fades, Samsung is banking on new partnerships with software developers and carriers to promote its Android devices as the preferred choice of business people.

The new Samsung Solutions Exchange, launched Wednesday, offers app developers resources to write and deploy mobile apps that take advantage of new featuers like Air View and Air Gesture,which lets the user control the device via gestures without even touching it.  Toward that end, Samsung released a software development kit and 1,000 (!) APIs.

According to the site:

“By working closely with leading companies in mobility to develop and deliver integrated and valuable solutions, Samsung Mobile makes it easy for businesses to address their challenges with our suite of secure,highly-desirable smartphones and tablets.”

This interested me — earlier this summer the CIO for a large Boston based law firm with many hundreds of lawyers nationwide told me his company will not support the use of Android-based smartphones by the company’s lawyers and support staff. Basically, for them, it was Blackberry, iPhone(s aapl) or bust.

I’m not sure how widespread that concern is among corporate IT powers — my colleague Kevin Tofel suspects this CIO was reading too much FUD. According to Tofel, Android(s goog) phones can be managed in an enterprise just as iPhones can and Samsung has pushed Knox, its enterprise-grade security solution, for some time.

The CEO of a mobile apps company agreed that Android sometimes gets a bad rep because of fear that it’s a fragmented standard: “Ironically,” he said, “Samsung is doing the most to provide embedded [mobile device management] but power of standardization is pulling customers to rally around Apple devices.”

That is something Samsung has to combat and, with remaining Blackberry users in play and Microsoft hoping to parlay its new Nokia smartphone portfoliointo bigger market share, it can’t stand still.

This program focuses on Samsung for Enterprise (SAFE) Android-based devices — the Galaxy S4 and S3 phones; Galaxy Note 2 and 3 “phablets”; and Galaxy Note tablets.

The business road warrior segment is highly contested and many folks still cradling their Blackberrys may be up for grabs. But you have to wonder if one arm of Samsung knows what the other is doing. For international travelers, news that Samsung is locking its new phones to regions seems kind of counter-productive to this goal.