National Defense Magazine reports that Boeing is developing a highly secure mobile phone using the Android operating system.
"Boeing President Roger Krone declined to go into specifics when it came to the device’s hardware or release date, though he did note the Boeing Phone (the company hasn’t officially decided on a name yet) is nearing the end of its development cycle," writes TechCrunch's Chris Velazco. "It seems as though the device has been in the works for a while so it’s a safe bet that the spec sheet won’t be the most competitive, and I wouldn’t expect to see anything newer than Froyo or Gingerbread running on it."
"[Vice] president of Boeing’s secure infrastructure group Brian Palma said there are competing firms out there at the moment which offer secure, encrypted handsets for around $15,000 to $20,000 with proprietary software and hardware, though he expected Boeing would be able to come up with something with a more attractive price tag," writes Digital Trends' Trevor Mogg.
"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," writes VentureBeat's Sean Ludwig. "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 yet more bad news for Canadian smartphone manufacturer RIM," writes The Register's Iain Thomson. "The US government is still a big customer for RIM (President Obama reported addiction to his personal BlackBerry and France's premier Nicolas Sarkozy is also keen) and that government sector is a very important part of RIM's revenue stream. But Boeing has great government contracts as well, and could well carve a serious slice of the sector if the price is right."
BetaNews' Ed Oswald notes that the news also likely a disappointment for Microsoft. "The two companies have worked together closely over the years, and Boeing uses Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud computing platform in its manufacturing process," he writes. "Could Windows Phone have provided the functionality the company desires? Probably, but it doesn't have the mass market reach of Android."