IMPORTANT NOTICE: Samsung will deprecate KPE features duplicated in AE

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Samsung will deprecate KPE features duplicated in AE

02 Jul 2019
By Amrit Bains

Partners and enterprise customers have been using both Knox Platform for Enterprise (KPE) and Android Enterprise (AE) to implement common features and often lacked clarity about the two options and when to use each one. Over time, KPE and AE had more and more overlapping features and duplicated APIs. 

To lessen the confusion and provide more simplified clarity, Samsung will deprecate the KPE Standard and Premium features and APIs that are duplicated in AE or not used. Discontinuing overlapping KPE features enables Samsung and Google to strengthen our collaborative approach to deploying Android devices.

Partners and enterprise customers using to-be-deprecated KPE features are highly encouraged to switch to AE features as soon as possible, and invest in the new KPE product to take advantage of its advanced security, granular manageability, and enhanced usability features.

 

What are the benefits of doing this?

The simplified Knox product structure helps everyone to better understand the differences between KPE and AE, and when to use each option. The benefits are as follows:

  • UEM Partners
    • Saves you time and money, as you now only need to use AE to implement core Android features.
    • Provides only clearly differentiated and advanced features through KPE, to help you build a more market-competitive product.
    • Enables a simpler and cleaner UI, with AE and KPE more clearly differentiated, and fewer duplicated and overlapping features.
  • Developers
    • Eases development, as you now only need to call AE APIs for core Android features. The Samsung Knox SDK and documentation is more streamlined to provide only differentiated and advanced features and APIs not available through AE.
  • Enterprise customers
    • Improves usability. IT Admins using UEM web consoles see a simpler and cleaner UI, using only AE to manage core Android features, and KPE to manage differentiated Samsung features.

This move also allows Samsung to be more agile. We can focus more on the many differentiated and advanced features that our partners and enterprise customers have requested, and less on testing and maintaining duplicated features and APIs with each release.

 

What is the deprecation timeline?

  • End of 2019: Android Q and Knox 3.4.1 release on Samsung devices
    • KPE features and APIs that overlap with AE, or are not utilized will be deprecated. They will still work in Android Q, but are documented as being deprecated.
  • Q4 2020: Android R releases on Samsung devices
    • Deprecated KPE features and APIs are now obsolete and will no longer work on devices with Android R.

 

What is being deprecated?

Most of the KPE APIs being deprecated have equivalent APIs in the Android DevicePolicyManager (DPM) APIs. The KPE container APIs can be replaced using Android Managed Profiles.

 

Areas with deprecated APIs

For a complete list of the API methods being deprecated in Knox 3.4.1, see Deprecated API methods. The rightmost column indicates the ones deprecated in Knox 3.4.1.

Here are the KPE API classes that will have deprecated APIs. Not all API methods in these classes will be deprecated.

  1. Knox workspace: KnoxContainerManager, ContainerConfigurationPolicy, SEAMSPolicy
  2. Device security: PasswordPolicy, BasePasswordPolicy, LockscreenOverlay, DeviceSecurityPolicy, SPDControlPolicy, LocationPolicy, Geofencing
  3. Device restrictions: RestrictionPolicy, PhoneRestrictionPolicy, AdvancedRestrictionPolicy
  4. Device setup: DateTimePolicy, DeviceInventory, MultiUserManager, APMPolicy, DexManager
  5. Networking: BluetoothPolicy, WifiPolicy, VpnPolicy
  6. App management: ApplicationPolicy, BrowserPolicy
  7. Email management: LDAPAccountPolicy, ExchangeAccountPolicy, EmailAccountPolicy
  8. Customization: SystemManager, SettingsManager, CustomDeviceManager
  9. Keystore and certificate management: TimaKeystore, EnterpriseCertEnrollPolicy, ClientCertificateManager, CertificatePolicy
  10. Data protection: DLPManagerPolicy

 

What are the next steps?

  • Partners: Plan to migrate the above KPE features. Review the deprecated API methods, and identify the equivalent AE features and APIs where possible. Samsung will also help strategic partners to migrate their solutions.
  • Developers: Plan to remove the above KPE APIs. For example, use the Device Owner and Profile Owner modes to replace the Knox device manager and workspace container manager. When Knox 3.4.1 releases, check if your app uses any of the deprecated API methods and replace them with their AE equivalents.
  • Enterprise customers: Early next year, you may begin to see changes in the solutions that used KPE converging to an AE use model.

 

Please contact knoxplatform@samsung.com if you have any business or technical inquiries. We look forward to continuing to work with you to develop the best Android solutions with AE and KPE. Finally, thank you for your continued partnership with Samsung.

 

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