The Pentagon aerial shot

As Samsung and Apple are bringing the smartphone wars to the Pentagon, the Galaxy maker has drawn first blood as its Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone gets cleared for government use ahead of the iPhone. A security approval from the US Department of Defense (DoD) is a major recognition for Samsung and its new Knox security software as the S4 becomes the first Android smartphone to win a DoD approval.

It wasn’t immediately clear what’s up with the holdup concerning Apple, but the iPhone and iPad devices should get cleared later this month…

Korea’s Yonhap News agency reported Samsung on Friday confirmed it has received security approval for the Galaxy S4 from DoD, “making it the first Korean smart device to earn such approval.”

There’s nothing unusual about this development: back in February, DoD confirmed it will open its communications networks to mobile devices from Apple and Google by February 2014.

According to Reuters, the Pentagon’s fleet of 600,000 smartphones comprises of 470,000 BlackBerrys, 41,000 Apple devices and 8,700 Android devices.

The Wall Street Journal confirmed that BlackBerry 10 devices also got cleared for government use late Thursday. Apple’s approval is still expected in the “next few weeks,” according to the spokesman.

Conveniently enough, Samsung two days ago rolled out a New Business Experience campaign. Three months ago, the South Korean conglomerate targeted business costumers with the following video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYtFMGurpfc

Knox software played a major factor in obtaining the approval.

The software feature uses NSA-grade security to protect on-device information from prying eyes and allows users to keep both their decrypted personal documents, such as photos and music, along with work-related encrypted files on the same device.

Samsung Galaxy S4 unveiling (Knox slide)

Samsung will roll out Knox to select devices at a latter stage. For the time being, the Galaxy S4 is the only device to come preloaded with the Knox software.

BlackBerry used to dominate the security-concerned U.S. defense agencies, but the playground has changed with Samsung’s entrance into this highly lucrative sector: Samsung is the world’s top Android maker and by far the biggest smartphone maker by volume.

Apple’s iPhone and iPad, on the other hand, has a commanding lead in corporate deployment, with most of the Fortune 500 companies and many businesses – small and large – encouraging their employees to use iPhones and iPads for work.