BlackBerry PlayBook Wins Security Clearance From Feds

RIM's tablet is the first to pass the Federal Information Processing Standard, deeming it secure enough for use by U.S. government workers.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

July 22, 2011

3 Min Read

Score one for Research In Motion. While its PlayBook tablet may not have scored a home run with consumers (or developers), it just got a big thumbs up from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which granted it FIPS certification. No other tablet, despite its success in the market, can lay claim to this title. The PlayBook stands alone with the FIPS chip on its shoulder.

FIPS certification is required for devices to be used by the federal government. This clears the PlayBook for use by government agencies, and now means the PlayBook meets RIM's own stringent security requirements for features such as native email and contact management. (Some have speculated that the reason the PlayBook shipped without support for PIM management was due to missing security tokens.)

"RIM is pleased to announce that the BlackBerry PlayBook is the first tablet approved under FIPS for use within the U.S. federal government," said Scott Totzke, senior vice president for BlackBerry security at Research In Motion, in a statement. "This certification demonstrates our continued commitment to meeting the needs of security-conscious organizations and enables the U.S. federal government to buy with confidence knowing that the PlayBook meets their computing policy requirements for protecting sensitive information."

While this is great news for RIM, it is unclear if this will actually spur government sales. The U.S. government may make use of BlackBerrys, which work well with the PlayBook, but the PlayBook still lags the iPad and Android-based tablets in basic functionality and features.

In other PlayBook news, RIM on Friday announced that it has acquired a small company called JayCut, which is based out of Sweden and operates a premier online video editor that it has licensed to a variety of companies and websites. According to RIM, the JayCut team will bring their expertise in video editing and cloud-based services to the BlackBerry platform. By working with JayCut to add video editing capabilities to the BlackBerry platform, RIM believes it can further enrich its customers' multimedia experience with BlackBerry.

Last up, an unfinished build of the Android Application Player for the PlayBook has leaked. This emulator will allow the PlayBook to run Android applications. RIM doesn't want you to install it, however.

It issued an official statement regarding the leak late Thursday: "An older version of the Android App Player beta software for the BlackBerry PlayBook was inadvertently posted and has since been removed. We recommend that users refrain from downloading and installing this software since it is outdated and non-functional in many respects. The official beta release of the Android App Player for the BlackBerry PlayBook is on track for release later this summer."

RIM touted the Android App Player as a way to help expand the availability of applications to the PlayBook platform. PlayBook owners will be able to use it to access the Android Market and download/install Android apps on their PlayBook.

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About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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