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Boeing to launch highly secure Android smartphone this year

Boeing has certainly got some big ideas off the ground in its 96-year history, though its latest project may come as a surprise to some — the famous plane maker has said it will soon be launching a smartphone.

According to a report this week from trade magazine National Defense (ND), the Seattle-based company is developing a highly secure Android-powered device which should be ready by the end of this year.

Speaking to ND, 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.

However, before you get too excited and dash off down to your local wireless store to place an order, he added that its still-hefty price tag would prevent it from being a mass-market device.

It’s thought the phone would likely be used by those working for the government and intelligence agencies.

ND’s report said Boeing’s decision to go with an Android-powered device was the result of a changing trend where people who once went to work to use cutting-edge equipment now have it available to them in the consumer market — and take it with them to work.

By developing an Android handset, employees will still have access to popular apps and at the same time be secure in the knowledge that their more sensitive business communications aren’t at risk from hackers or any other kinds of malicious system intrusion. Or in other words, they’ll be able to play Draw Something and Words With Friends during their lunch breaks.

While Boeing’s initial device is for a niche market, if it turns out to be a big success one wonders if the company would be at all tempted to put out something for the commercial market too. Now there’s an idea that could really fly (sorry, couldn’t resist that one).

[Image: Maxene Hulyu / Shutterstock]

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