Boeing, BlackBerry team up for self-destructing smartphone aimed at U.S. defense & homeland security

21 December 2014, 10:40 am EST By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps
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Boeing is reportedly teaming up with BlackBerry for a self-destructing smartphone designed for use by U.S. defense and homeland security employees and contractors.

With this move, the second-largest U.S. defense contractor - Boeing - is diving further into software development at a time when its military hardware is seeing slower sales over Pentagon budget cuts. For BlackBerry, meanwhile, this is a great opportunity to once again prove its security expertise and boost its relevance for government agencies amid declining commercial sales.

"We're pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile solution for Android devices utilizing our BES12 platform," John Chen, BlackBerry chairman and CEO, said during an earnings call, as cited by Bloomberg. "That by the way is all they allow me to say."

As previously mentioned, Boeing is the second-largest U.S. defense contractor. While the company is famous for building aircraft for both commercial flights and military applications, it has also been supplying tools for secure communications to the U.S. government and military. This secretive, self-destructing Boeing Black smartphone made in collaboration with BlackBerry will be the latest such tool.

BlackBerry may have fallen far behind rivals on the smartphone market, with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone gobbling up its share, but the Canadian company is renowned for its security prowess and expertise.

Boeing already offers full encryption of voice and data through its PureSecure architecture, and it will now employ BlackBerry's BES12 security software as well to bump things up a notch.

The Boeing Black smartphone is shaping up as a real powerhouse built with security in mind. The device will reportedly be tamper-proof, and some high-end built-in functions will make it trigger a full data swipe and software lockdown in case anyone tries to tamper with it. This self-destruct protocol aims to make things more secure and keep all sensitive data safe.

The handset will also sport dual-DIM support, allowing users to securely connect to both government networks and commercial ones. An expansion port, meanwhile, will allow for satellite connections, more power, or others such.

Considering that it's a U.S. defense and homeland security project, details are scarce. Nevertheless, this collaboration between Boeing and BlackBerry sounds quite promising, to say the least.

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