Boeing is jumping into the smartphone business, developing a new mobile device  — but we probably won’t be buying this one at our local wireless store.

The company is working on a secure communications device for the U.S. government defense and security market, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed this morning.

The news was reported earlier this week by National Defense Magazine, which said the device will be based on the Android operating system.

National Defense quoted Roger Krone, president of Boeing Network and Space Systems, saying that Boeing was aiming to launch the device in late 2012, at a lower price than competitors who sell secure phones for as much as $20,000 — but not so low that the Boeing phone would be considered a mass-market product.

Android was chosen because it will also provide users access to popular consumer apps while still knowing that their communications are secure, Krone told reporters, according to the magazine.

Via email, a Boeing spokeswoman confirmed to GeekWire, “We are developing a trusted mobile device that will serve the US Government Defense and Security market, which require a higher level of security than is currently available in the commercial marketplace.”

The company isn’t yet giving further product or launch details.

(Thanks to Isaac Alexander for the tip.)

Comments

  • Guest

    Congrats to Boeing on the phone, but why use such an old version of Android? New Ice Cream Sandwich devices don’t have those irritating fake buttons below the screen.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Funny. That’s obviously not the phone, it’s a graphic I made. 

      • Guest

        Its confusing to dumb people.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    Hmm, this is very interesting.

    Potentially the company most threatened by this is RIM I would argue.

    They’ve been retrenching into their enterprise and especially government focus, and their security record is one thing they’re leaning on in that regard.

    Of course, too, this raises the question: do we now add Boeing to the list of potential RIM suitors?

    p.s. I don’t find the graphic confusing….though adding wings might help. :)

  • Adi Venkata

    Surprising that the govt or Boeing didn’t consider Microsoft 7.5 Mobile or the upcoming 8 OS. That would be a better bet for enterprise SW usage in the medium to long term than Android. Don’t you think?

    • Wiped out at Ypres

      @google-3a3b0630420132929f3541b95d770168:disqus 

      Boeing has a history of:
      a) not trusting MSFT
      b) heavy Java use internally

      So to me this is not surprising, even though I tend to agree that in business climates, WinPhone is better integrated with MSFT’s other server products.

    • nimble_jack2

      Or even buy Blackberry to get the security its devices have. God knows the last thing I’d trust my data or security to is Android or iOs.

  • http://gamebashing.com chupchap

    I hope the phone takes off. Pun intended.

  • Lawrence Lam

    Do you have to turn off *this* phone during takeoff and landing?

  • Jeremy Jay

    General Dynamics has been customizing Windows Mobile and now Android phones for the government for some time. Markup is large since the work has to be done in the US by engineers with security clearance.

  • DengFing

    OK now that is exactly what I am talking about dude.
    http://www.Total-Privacy dot US

  • Guest

    I noticed www.kryptall.com  selling secure Cellular and VoIP phones What is interesting is that they are encrypting from the phone to the cloud. Cloud down can be encrypted for total security or open to call anyone. Interesting concept.

  • Othelo

    I was surprised thinking that they are into airplane business and now they will be venturing into mobile phone business. [depot.wen.ru]

    • Guest

      Boeing is the world’s second-largest aerospace and defense contractor, with Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) as one of the five major divisions of the Boeing Company. The B-52 Stratofortress, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook helicopter and the LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM are all Boeing designs. Boeing also worked as a subcontrators on the Saturn Launch Vehicle, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and the B2 bomber. BDS’s Network and Space Systems includes a full IT services section and Hughes Satellite Systems, among other areas. Despite the fact the Boeing is one of the largest aircraft manufacturers (and that United, the world’s biggest airline, used to be a Boeing division), they do a lot more than just aircraft. Moving into secure mobile is not a big stretch for them.

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