Friday, February 28, 2014

Boeing's self-destructing 'Black' Android smartphone seen in FCC filing

When most people think of Boeing, they think of airliners. However, Boeing's business extends far beyond that, and includes aerospace and defense work, too. Thus, the Boeing FCC filing discovered on Wednesday by Geekwire should surprise no one.

The phone, codenamed "Black," seems straight out of "Mission: Impossible." Black will self-destruct, erasing all data and deactivating if pried open or tampered with. A letter accompanying the filing says:
Boeing’s Black phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security. The device will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public. Detailed technical information distributed at trade shows will be limited or protected by non-disclosure agreements.

There are no serviceable parts on Boeing’s Black phone and any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product. The Boeing Black phone is manufactured as a sealed device both with epoxy around the casing and with screws, the heads of which are covered with tamper proof covering to identify attempted disassembly.

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.
The device will run Android and will be capable of using dual SIMs. It will support GSM, WCDMA, and LTE and will measure 5.2-inches by 2.7-inches.

Due to the security around "Black," Boeing has not released many details about any wireless carriers or the manufacturer it is working with. It has also not provided a price or date by which the phone would be widely available. It did say, though, that it has begun offering the phone to potential customers.

In a statement, Boeing said:
Designed to meet the evolving security needs of defense and security customers, Boeing has released a modular smartphone to enable secure access and exchange of critical data and communications on a trusted mobile device.

Boeing Black delivers unique embedded hardware and software security solutions, operating system policy controls, and compatibility with leading mobile device management systems.

Boeing has drawn on its deep expertise in information assurance, advanced technology partners and a U.S.-based manufacturer to provide an innovative, secure and flexible mobile solution.

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