black2Nearly two years after word leaked about Boeing’s plans to build a secure Android phone, the aerospace giant and defense contractor has quietly filed documents with the FCC for what it’s calling the “Black” phone.

In case there was any doubt, you won’t find this phone at your local electronics store. In fact, some of its features are straight out of a spy novel.

“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,” a lawyer for the company says in a letter accompanying the filing. “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.”

The letter continues, “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.”

And here’s the kicker: “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 filing was made earlier today, as spotted by the electronics news site myce.

Most of the documents in the filing are confidential, but the limited images do show that the Boeing “Black” has dual SIM cards, and a variety of options for connectivity, including LTE.

We’ve contacted the company on the off chance it wants to say anything more about the device.

Update, 9:55 a.m.: Here is a statement on the new phone from a Boeing spokesperson, who confirmed that it’s running on Android.

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.

Here are more images and specs from the filing.


black3Related: Boeing preps for possible future without BlackBerry, tests Android alternatives

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  • Christopher Budd

    I don’t know. All that security at the hardware level is for nothing if the software isn’t secured and Android is very much a problem child these days as regards malware. I don’t have to worry about a self destructing handset if I can get your data from you downloading my fake Flappy Birds app.

    If I was going to build a high security phone, I’d go with Blackberry still. They’ve hands down got the best creds on the security front on phones.

    • mike

      This will hands down not allow normal app store access… The software will be encrypted. Currently all Boeing employees have to encrypt any laptops, phones and USB sticks that they take off site (if they are allowed to).
      Software encryption is a given in this case. This won’t be a standard touchwiz phone.

      • JT

        This sounds well and good, until you actually see their system policies in action. I lived with a machinist at Boeing who regularly brought his laptop home, and even allowed his teenage daughters to use it.

        At the time (perhaps it’s changed), the laptop was running an extremely old version of Java, because apparently newer versions broke some aspect of a program they used to view blueprints or 3d models or something. As a result, one of the daughters ended up infecting that machine with Vundo via a Java exploit.

        He came to me to clean it, but every attempt I made at removing Vundo was blocked because he had limited permissions on the system. So the virus, which used a java exploit, had no issue getting on the system, but it was impossible to clean.

        Boeing laptops aren’t quite as secure as you may believe them to be…

        • Christopher Budd

          Oh wow, I feel for you. That sounds nightmarish.

          That’s a fair point about limitations on what apps can be installed. But there’s still a lot to be concerned about with Android as a platform in my opinion.

  • Ronnoriswrong

    What they don’t tell you is that the NSA has a back door into the phone.

    Kinda defeats the purpose.

    • Adrian

      its not for you to use.. its an NSA phone.. get it?

  • Kand Remand

    OK wow that looks like tis gonna be good. For sure.
    Anon-Works dot Com

  • Sheesh…

    Blackberry is just..over… completely finished…. also this phone is made for the NSA and other goverment use, not for the general public… whether it has NSA backdoors or not are immaterial.. but again, Blackberry is sooo over..

    • Eric Cramer

      It’s not a blackberry. It’s not even by the same company.

  • navdeep

    Boeing has unveiled its Black secure and spy phone that deletes all its call and message data if any unauthorized attempt is made.

    A self-destructing smartphone may sound like something out of a James Bond film but Boeing has made it reality.


    • Duhhh

      It is not a self destructing phone. And the pone would have 250 mil secs to delete the data at best. Hence duh its not deleting anything over the size of of a few Kilo bytes.In order to ensure total erasure… hint hint!

  • Beckola

    Moto-X with custom security features…meh

  • suckit

    The only thing that sucks about this phone is all the extra encryption software you have to pay monthly for they don’t tell you about.

    I have already accidentally self destructed 3 of these ;)

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