Boeing reveals new spy phone
Boeing has stepped outside the field of aeronautics to develop a security focused smartphone – the Boeing Black. The device will be unavailable to the general public, being designed from the ground up to be the go-to device for the US Defense and Security communities. It offers what Boeing describes as “trusted access to data," allowing said agencies to carry out highly sensitive missions.
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Boeing has made it clear that due to the covert nature of the device, the inner workings of the phone will not be made available to the general public. However some basic specifications for the spy phone have been released.
According to its product page, the Boeing Black runs a heavily customized version of Google's Android operating system and weighs in at 170 g (5.9 oz) with a 4.3 x 540 x 960-inch qHD display. The Bluetooth-enabled smartphone has room for two SIM cards, allowing the user to switch between government and commercial networks.
There's no word on how much internal storage the device will carry, but it does offer a microSD expansion slot. The handset is powered by dual 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A9 CPUs, supports LTE connectivity and hosts a 1,590 mAh battery.
Whilst these specifications appear underwhelming when compared with flagship handsets such as the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S5, it's fair to say that the Black isn't aiming to compete with the cream of the Android crop.
The device was designed with modularity in mind. The back of the phone slides off to allow various modules such as additional sensing equipment or satellite connectivity, giving the phone a high level of flexibility for a secure mobile device.
Boeing Black is in effect a sealed unit, utilizing covered screws and epoxy glue to seal the casing. According to papers sent to the Federal Communications Commission, "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."
This also means that it is impossible to service or swap out components within the phone.
On top of these physical safety measures, the Boeing Black boasts a plethora of software security elements covering a wide range of functions. One such example of the data protection software utilized in Boeing Black is disk encryption, a system that effectively protects stored information by converting it into an unreadable code.
We reached out to Boeing for comment on the device, with the company simply stating that “Boeing Black delivers unique embedded hardware and software security solutions, operating system policy controls, and compatibility with leading mobile device management systems."
Due to the fact that the phone's target client base is the US intelligence and defense community, no price or release date has been announced by the aeronautics giant.
Source: Boeing [PDF]