Aerospace and defense company Boeing this week rolled out the Boeing Black – a heavily secured Android smartphone designed for use by the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, which – no kidding – will essentially self-destruct if tampered with.
In a filing with the FCC first obtained by tech media site Myce, Boeing’s attorneys said that "any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable.” While that may not mean the phone will become a fuming lump of plastic if tampered with – think of the liability issues if it goes off accidentally! – it’s certainly an aggressive approach to smartphone security.
That aggressive approach is apparent elsewhere in the Boeing Black’s design. The phone boasts hardware-based encryption and secure boot, along with compatibility with major mobile device management systems, according to Boeing. The device is also highly modularized, with various additions like sensors, battery packs and satellite connectivity available. The operating system is listed simply as Android, but screen shots appear to show the device running some variant.
Boeing is also intent on keeping many details of the Black secret, as customers will have to sign a purchase agreement that prevents them from sharing information about the device with the public. Essentially, you’ll need to sign an NDA before they’ll sell it to you.
The Black isn’t exactly going to knock anyone’s socks off with its published specs – a 540x960 pixel 4.3-inch screen, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, clunky 13mm thickness – but that’s not really the point. It’s a smartphone designed for security and little else, which could be tempting for the James Bond crowd.
Email Jon Gold at jgold@Nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.