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RIM BlackBerry 10 Gets Government Security Clearance

You won't be able to buy any BlackBerry 10 smartphones from RIM until March 2013, but when you do, they'll be certified for government work.

Research In Motion announced Thursday that its BlackBerry 10 operating system has received FIPS 140-2 certification. This means that it is secure enough for use by federal and state government agencies. RIM pointed out that this is the first time one of its platforms has been FIPS certified ahead of launch.

RIM has always taken security seriously. The bulk of its devices are protected by AES 256-bit encryption. The FIPS certification is just icing on the cake that RIM hopes to stuff into the mouths of government and business customers once its BB10 platform launches.

"Achieving FIPS certification for an entirely new platform in a very short period of time, and before launch, is quite remarkable and a testament to the dedication of our security team," said David MacFarlane, security certifications director at RIM. "BlackBerry 10 will deliver security, a superior user experience, the ability to separately manage corporate and personal data on the same device and ease of manageability for IT managers in an enterprise or government environment."

FIPS certification may not be enough to convince those potential government and business customers to pick BlackBerry 10 over rivals such as iOS, Android or Windows Phone, however.

[ RIM may have already missed the boat. See BlackBerry 10 Launch: Is March Too Late? ]

At least one analyst is not holding out hope for the unreleased smartphone platform.

"We believe BB10 is likely to be [dead on arrival]," said James Faucette, a Pacific Crest analyst, reports Bloomberg. "We expect the new OS to be met with a lukewarm response at best and ultimately likely to fail."

RIM seeded BlackBerry 10 to more than 50 mobile network operators around the world in late October. Those operators will take three to four months to evaluate the platform and make it ready for their networks. RIM's launch windows will fall somewhere between mid-February and possibly as late as mid-April.

It has two smartphones on deck for launch. The first will be an all-touch device and the second will include a QWERTY keyboard. Most wireless network operators in North America have said they will support the new platform from RIM. Whether or not it can make a dent in the stranglehold Android and iOS have on the market is not clear.

Dead on arrival or not, we can rest easy knowing that, at least, BlackBerry 10 will be secure.

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User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2012 | 5:49:12 PM
re: RIM BlackBerry 10 Gets Government Security Clearance
Good news for BlackBerry fans, of which I am one.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2012 | 6:42:10 PM
re: RIM BlackBerry 10 Gets Government Security Clearance
A few errors in your story:

1 RIM has alsways stated that product will launch 1st Quarter 2013. You indicated March.....and it could be as early Jan or Feb. They have never stated April.

2.Carrier testing takes 60-90 days (2-3 months...not 3-4 months).

RIM is set to make a comeback with BB10.
Eric Z
Eric Z,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2012 | 6:50:49 PM
re: RIM BlackBerry 10 Gets Government Security Clearance
Thanks for your feedback, but I have to disagree. I've spoken directly to wireless network operators many times about their certification process. They consistently tell me 120 to 160 days to certify devices.

Yes, RIM has always said Q1, but I have doubts they'll make it. Carrier testing isn't the only hurdle BB10 has to clear before devices go on sale. At best, carriers will clear the devices to run in early February. They still have to pass FCC testing. I suggested April in my story because I am not confident RIM can meet its stated goals. Not meant to be a fact, just a pragmatic view of RIM's progress.
User Rank: Strategist
12/5/2012 | 7:28:29 PM
re: RIM BlackBerry 10 Gets Government Security Clearance
Eric Z always has a Microsoft or Blackberry product failing or being late to market. Take his articles as opinion more than facts. In general, usually a negative or downer tone in his writings, laced with few important details you can really believe in, and as many hard to take seriously.
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