Would You Buy A Smartphone That Self-Destructs?

Brandon Dimmel's picture

Boeing is reportedly working on a new smartphone capable of self-destructing if lost or stolen. Reports suggest the device will be targeted at people -- like politicians, law enforcement officials, and corporate executives -- who store lots of sensitive information on their smartphones.

At this point Boeing's smartphone, which is simply called "Black", is at the patent filing stage. If it eventually heads into production, the device will run a variant of the Android operating system (OS). It's expected Black will feature USB, HDMI, and SIM storage and will support various wireless standards, including Bluetooth and WiFi.

What's not known are the Boeing smartphone's hardware specifications. Specifically, it's not clear what kind of processor the device will use, what screen resolution it will feature, or if users will have access to popular applications like Facebook or Netflix.

Want a Boeing Black? Sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement, First

Boeing is planning a cautious process for anyone interested in buying the Black.

In fact, the Washington State-based firm says that acquiring its Black smartphone will require prospective owners agree to sign a non-disclosure agreement which says that a buyer will not discuss the phone's hardware, software, performance, or applications.

The goal, it seems, is to limit the amount of information known about the Black and thereby reduce the likelihood that hackers will learn how to compromise its defenses.

"The Boeing Black phone is manufactured as a sealed device both with epoxy around the casing and with screws, the heads of which are covered with tamper proof covering to identify attempted disassembly," Boeing said in its filing.

"Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable." (Source: qz.com)

Government Agencies: Black's Target Audience

According to Boeing's filing, the firm's target audience for the Black includes "government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security."

The filing goes on to say that the device "will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low-level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public." (Source: techcrunch.com)

Producing a smartphone would represent a new direction for Boeing, which is primarily known for building aircraft and combat systems for the United States military.

Smartphone Security An Increasingly Important Issue

Some experts believe that there's a need for an ultra-high-security smartphone with the decline of the BlackBerry, which has long been considered the world's most secure mobile device.

With T-Mobile openly encouraging its customers to ditch their BlackBerry devices in favor of Apple's iPhone, it would seem that there's room in the growing smartphone market for a device that makes security a leading priority. (Source: cnn.com)

Boeing is one of many companies that is currently moving away from the BlackBerry, which has seen its share of the smartphone market dramatically reduced in recent years. Just last year an estimated 40,000 Boeing employees used BlackBerry devices, though it's expected that number will steadily decline in the coming months.

What's Your Opinion?

Would you be interested in a smartphone that self-destructs as soon as a user marks it lost or stolen? Do you think that smartphone producers, like Apple or Samsung, place enough emphasis on the security of their devices? And, do you think a company that builds aircraft and combat systems has any business being in the smartphone market?

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