Samsung is a company I follow very closely in a number of areas. Lately, the Samsung newsroom has been abuzz with consumer electronics news from its various announcements at CES 2020 (see my coverage here if interested). Samsung launched a number of intriguing new devices at the consumer electronics extravaganza, including my personal favorite, the new Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. While many companies might be laying low and recuperating from the big event, Samsung followed it up immediately with the announcement of the Galaxy XCover Pro—a completely new smartphone designed expressly for frontline workers that isn’t a modified version of the latest S Series phone. Let’s take a closer look at the new device.
A secure, multipurpose device for the workplace
The XCover Pro is the first Galaxy smartphone targeted towards the growing B2B business mobility market, which Samsung says is “ripe for transformation in 2020.” Samsung says the device is well-suited for both customer-facing and field settings—rugged enough for hard work, but still outwardly chic, thin, and lightweight. The XCover Pro is IP68 water and dust resistant, and can survive a drop of up to 1.5m without a protective case. Additionally, Samsung touts its MIL-STD 810G certification, which denotes protection from extreme environmental conditions including altitude, humidity, and more. Because of these protections, Samsung says it is well suited for any number of industries—manufacturing, retail, healthcare, logistics, and much more.
It features a 6.3” FHD+ Infinity Display, which is enhanced to still work in conditions such as rain or snow. It even has a “glove mode” for environments, such as manufacturing, when the user must be able to operate the phone without removing their safety gloves. To aid in workplace communication, the XCover Pro integrates Microsoft Teams and its newly announced walkie-talkie capability. According to Samsung, it is “push-to-talk ready”—meaning users can communicate quickly and easily, at the push of a single button, with their co-workers, dispatchers, office managers, and more. The device also features voice-to-text capabilities that enable real-time dictation and messaging.
The Galaxy XCover Pro features an octa-core Samsung Exynos 9611 processor and a Google AR Core for augmented reality. It runs on the Android 10.0 operating system, and comes with 4GB + 64GB memory, and microSD up to 512GB. The European addition includes Dual SIM, while the North American model features a Single SIM. Additionally, Samsung says the device’s fast charging, user-replaceable battery can last an entire day at work—absolutely crucial for a a device like this. The XCover Pro also features a 13MP single front camera, as well as a 25MP dual rear camera.
For retail settings, the device features software and hardware solutions from the likes of Infinite Peripherals, KOAMTAC, Scandit and Visa, for barcode scanning, inventory tracking, payment processing, and more. It also features Samsung POS, a mobile point-of-sale solution that eliminates the need for dedicated POS hardware. Samsung says customers can easily make payments by tapping the XCover Pro with their phone, watch, or contactless card. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Obviously, when we’re talking about a B2B device, we have to talk about security. The Galaxy XCover Pro could be the most convenient device in the world, but if you don’t have the security measures to protect sensitive customer payment information, then it doesn’t matter. Luckily The Galaxy XCover Pro has Samsung’s defense-grade, multi-layered Knox security platform at its disposal. Crucially, Knox includes hardware-backed protection, data isolation and encryption, and boot-time and run-time security. For secure login, the Galaxy XCover Pro also includes a finger print reader and facial recognition.
All in all, the Galaxy XCover Pro looks like a great, innovative offering that could really improve frontline workflow and communication in almost any industry it is deployed in. It looks rugged yet fashionable, user-friendly yet secure. Furthermore, from Microsoft Teams to Samsung POS, it is software rich in all the right ways. Nice work, Samsung. Samsung has some competitors in the space like Zebra and CAT, but none of them have the size and scale of Samsung or the breadth of integration and simplicity that Samsung does. The rugged market is seeing a lot of growth and mobile rugged devices are as well. Mobility and security are key for this market and Samsung has deep experience in both of these.