boeing black smartphone
February 27, 2014

Boeing’s Ultra-Secure, Self-Destructing Smartphone

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Boeing unveiled its new, ultra-secure “Boeing Black” smartphone on Wednesday, saying it plans to sell the modular device to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies related to defense and homeland security.

“The U.S. defense and security communities demand trusted access to data to accomplish their missions. Despite the continuous innovation in commercial mobile technology, current devices are not designed from inception with the security and flexibility needed to match their evolving mission and enterprise environment,” Boeing said in its announcement.

The new phone, simply called “Black,” will run a security-enhanced variant of the Android operating system, and will include a 4.3-inch qHD (540x960) display, Dual 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processors, and support for LTE 700/1700/2100, WCDMA 850/1900/2100 and GSM 850/900/1800/1900 bands along with major storage (USB, HDMI, SIM) and wireless (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi) standards.

Perhaps the most interesting of Black’s features is the ability to self-destruct if anyone attempts to disassemble the phone to learn about its secrets.

“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,” Boeing said.

While disclosing the basic features of the new device, Boeing declined to elaborate on any of its specialized capabilities.

“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,” the company said in an FCC filing about the device.

Boeing’s Black appears to be a direct challenge to the BlackBerry, which has long been a favorite for government employees. The Canadian smartphone maker still enjoys a number of government smartphone contracts, and recently announced a new deal with the Pentagon to provide 80,000 BlackBerrys to defense department employees.

In its FCC filing, Boeing said that purchasers of Black would need to sign an agreement that "specifically designates and protects as ‘proprietary information’ the components, hardware, Product Software, applications, functionalities, or internal structure or workings” of the device, “including without limitation those that can be obtained by disassembling or opening the Product or its software or components.”

The agreement also states that there are “no serviceable parts on Boeing’s Black phone and any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product.”