Boeing, an aerospace and defense corporation, is surprisingly developing a mobile device. Apparently the company didn’t have enough on its hands what with burgeoning commercial airline production and satellites etc, so it decided to foray into developing a secure Android device as well.
Most people would like to think that their handsets are secure but that is unfortunately not the case. Businesses serious about security often pay as high as $20,000 for encrypted smartphones. Boeing’s mobile, which is now in the last stages of development, is based on Google’s Android operating system and will have a series of security modifications. It will be cheaper than those already in the market, which run on proprietary software requiring costly back end systems.
Cost is not the only factor that has driven Boeing to choose Android as the OS. Google’s fast-growing OS accounts for over 50% of the U.S. smartphone market, and this has led Boeing to believe that people will actually want to use their handset once it’s out because of the popular OS. As is often the case, this will mean that employees of companies who wish them to use secure connection devices will not abandon these secure devices for personal ones which offer a better user experience and the secure handset will appeal to them. Boeing President Roger Krone said that the Boeing phone will give customers “what they are used to seeing (on consumer market smartphones) and give them the functionality from the security perspective”.
Although the device will be a cheap device compared to ones from other manufacturers that are secure as well, it is probably not meant for mainstream regular consumers. A company official even told reporters that the device’s price will be lower than those of other secure, encrypted ones but it will not be so low as to be near mass-market price point.
As far as the specs of the device are concerned, not much has been revealed yet. However, it has been told that the device is near the end of its development cycle and so will probably be supporting Froyo or Gingerbread-older Android OS versions- and we are unlikely to see it running Ice Cream Sandwich. The device will probably support popular apps as well.
This news is not too good for Canadian smartphone manufacturer Research in motion, which isn’t going through a good patch anyway. RIM has tried to convince governments that its secure operating system is the best platform for mobile devices. The U.S. government does currently issue BlackBerry devices but the Boeing phone, with added layers of security on the popular Android OS, could pose some serious competition.