While consumers and enterprise customers won’t be able to buy a device running BlackBerry 10, the latest operating system from Research In Motion, until sometime next year, when they do, the smartphones will be certified for government work, thanks to the FIPS 140-2 certification the platform has just received.
The official recognition means that BlackBerry 10 is secure enough for use by federal and state government agencies. This marks the first time one of the company’s platforms has been given the FIPS certification ahead of launch, as RIM points out multiple times in its press release.
“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, director, security certifications 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.”
Despite its recent troubles, RIM has always been recognized for its strict security, with majority of its devices protected by AES 256-bit encryption. However, even a pre-launch FIPS certification may not be enough to convince potential business customers to choose BlackBerry over its more popular rivals.
Last month RIM delivered BB10 to more than 50 Wireless Network operators around the world, though if the carrier certification process takes longer than expected, the Canadian company could once again delay the launch of the platform, which is currently slated for 1Q13. With two smartphones in line to launch next year, including an all-touch handset and a QWERTY keyboard-equipped device, RIM could pump some life into its offerings with these new products. Then again, the company hasn’t released a new device in quite some time, leaving plenty of room for competitors like Apple and Android to steal some of its customers. Though one thing is for certain, 2013 will be the year to see if RIM can up its rankings in the smartphone race.