Boeing, a name synonymous with the B-17, B-52 and the airline industry, is now making a play in an entirely new realm. Smartphones. The company announced it is entering the category with a tamper-proof device called the Black.
In one way, the company is keeping with its tradition of protecting its users, but instead of smoothly transporting travelers from New York to London or safely bringing home the crew of a badly damaged bomber from enemy territory, the company is protecting people's personal data. This Android phone is designed from the ground up to protect data. Not only does it include the best encryption available, but if someone tries to meddle with the phone by opening the casing, it will self-destruct. Not in a going boom kind of way, but by ceasing to operate.
Although it may seem counterintuitive for a manufacturer of gigantic planes like the B-2 stealth bomber and products that can operate in space to come out with something that fits in a shirt pocket, the company noted that it utilized a great deal of its IT creativity and previous manufacturing history in developing the Black.
"Boeing leveraged more than 100 years of combined IT innovation experience from across the company to deliver a trusted and highly productive mobile solution for both the user and device administrator. The company said it decided to make the diminutive product because it saw a need in the defense and government communities," the company said.
With that said, the company's engineers certainly had to work on a different scale. To give an idea of the size difference being discussed the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jet has a wingspan of 197 feet, is 186 feet long and weighs 505,500 pounds at takeoff. In contrast, the Black has a 4.3-inch display and weighs 179 grams.
The idea behind the Black came from using plain old good business sense. Boeing saw a need and filled it.
"Despite the continuous innovation in commercial mobile technology, current devices are not designed from inception with the security and flexibility needed to match their evolving mission and enterprise environment," the website says.
Much like its other defense-related products, Boeing will not make the Black commercially available, but intends to sell only to government agencies. If Boeing's Black manages to make inroads into this market it could prove further trouble for Blackberry, which currently holds many government contracts for smartphones.