Boeing Preps Secure Android Smartphone For Government

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Aerospace and defence company expected to release device in late 2012

Boeing, the US-based aerospace and defence giant, has revealed it is planning an entry into the smartphone market sometime in late 2012.

Company officials told National Defense Magazine that “the Boeing phone” would run an encrypted version of the Android operating system to secure business communications while ensuring ease of use.

A more secure Android

Brian Palma, Boeing’s vice president of secure infrastructure, said the smartphone was nearing the end of its development cycle and would target high-end business and government users.

“We believe that there is significant interest in the defence side as well as the intelligence side and in the commercial world as well,” Palma told National Defense Magazine.

He added that while competing secure devices developed with proprietary software and hardware could cost between $15,000 and $20,000 (£9,420-£12,560), Boeing’s smartphone would be launched at a lower price, though not as low as the consumer market offerings of Apple and RIM.

Boeing’s decision to move into smartphones is reportedly motivated by the BYOD trend. As increasing numbers of companies and government departments are developing strategies to integrate consumer devices with workplace security, this super secure smartphone may help to bridge the gap in a single device.

The Boeing phone will supposedly give users “what they are used to seeing [on consumer smartphones] and give them the functionality from the security perspective,” Roger Krone, president of network and space systems, told National Defense Magazine.

Last month, the NSA announced a similar Android-based secure smartphone created entirely from off-the-shelf components. The agency’s use of Android’s open source platform echoed Boeing’s rationale in that it helped keep the government up to speed with consumer products while allowing significant security modifications.

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