New Product in the News: Boeing’s Self-Destructing Smartphone

Boeing's Black Smartphone

Boeing’s new secure smartphone doesn’t actually self destruct in such dramatic fashion, but the aerospace giant recently filed plans with the FCC to create a phone that does the next best thing. Codenamed “Black” Boeing has designed a device for its defense and security customers that will essentially self destruct (become “inoperative” in black ops parlance) if tampered with or is used by an unauthorized user. (In a related development state and federal politicians are seeking rules that would call for manufacturers of mobile phones to create a kill switch that would allow users to disable stolen smartphones to make them worthless on the black market.)

The phone is based on modified version of a Google’s Android operating system and is about half again as heavy as an Apple iPhone. Boeing hasn’t made the technical details available for obvious reasons. So researchers aren’t able to test the technical claims, but the defense industry has a history of making hardened security devices. President Obama, for example, has a special encrypted Blackberry. The Wall Street Journal reports that this is part of a trend toward more secure telephones. It reports that Washington-based Silent Circle and Madrid-based Geeksphone teamed up to launch the Blackphone which the makers claim doesn’t run on any traditional telecom carrier or commercial operating system.

The Blackphone sells for $629. Boeing hasn’t made its commercial plans for “Black” available.

Soon every CEO will want a super-secure, hardened smartphone. It will be the new status symbol. If nothing else one’s highly sensitive calls regarding super-sensitive M&A deals will be conducted with complete assurance that the information cannot be compromised. That is, until another defense contractor comes up with an effective countermeasure. There is an indication that such a device may exist, but if we told you we would have to shoot you.



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