Boeing developing a secure Android phone for the U.S. government

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Aerospace giant Boeing is hard at work developing a super-secure Android phone that the U.S. government can use for defense and intelligence purposes, the company revealed to National Defense Magazine.

The device, dubbed “the Boeing phone,” will offer a more secure version of the open-source Android OS. Some manufacturers already offer encrypted mobile phones, but those devices cost $15,000 – $20,000. Boeing will bring that price down while still making security for voice and data a serious priority.

“We are going to drive down towards a lower price point, but … not mass-market price point,” Boeing VP Brian Palma told National Defense Magazine. “We believe that there is significant interest on the defense side as well as the intelligence side and in the commercial world as well.”

Boeing chose Android not only because it could add extra layers of needed security, but also because it wants the device to have a consumer-like feel. If the phone feels more like a consumer device, it will be easier to get government employees to use them over non-secure devices.

The news is probably disheartening for already-hurting Research in Motion, which has tried to convince governments and businesses that it has the most secure platform for mobile devices. The U.S. government does currently issue BlackBerry devices, but Android’s crazy level of flexibility does offer additional ways to boost security in a way that’s competitive.

Boeing’s Android phone will likely launch by late 2012. We’ll let you know when we hear more.

Boeing photo: prayitno/Flickr

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