BlackBerry Highlights Messaging Security


At the 2014 Mobile World Congress, BlackBerry revealed plans to offer an encrypted version of BlackBerry Messaging (BBM).  The conference, currently being held in Barcelona, is the world’s largest mobile industry conference.  Running over several days and attended by over 72,000 people, the conference is one of the premier locations to make new mobile products and technology public.  This year, BlackBerry has not only come out with several new devices, but the company is also highlighting secure messaging.

BlackBerry unveiled plans for two new devices, the Z3 and the Q20.  The Z3 is a touch screen phone intended for the emerging mobile market in Indonesia.  If the phone does well, it will be rolled out to additional markets in Southeast Asia at a later time.  The Z3 will be the first phone to be manufactured for BlackBerry under the newly acquired partnership with Foxconn.  Foxconn is a company that assembles products through a network of capacious China-based factories.

Also showcased was the revamped Q20.  The new Q20 is BlackBerry’s answer to the not-so-popular Q10.  One of the major complaints from consumers about the Q10 was the fact that the popular track pad went missing.  The new Q20 will retain the well-loved QWERTY keyboard and reinstall the track pad in an effort to appease unhappy customers.  It will also feature premium materials and a longer battery life than previous models.

One of the new technologies that BlackBerry is highlighting is a premier level of messaging security.  In response to the heightened security issues worldwide, BlackBerry will be offering a new subscription service to provide secure, real-time messaging through its BBM services.  The subscription service, called BBM Protected, will be a boon for industries in sensitive markets.

Companies involved in sensitive fields such as healthcare or finance will be able to subscribe to a new type of BBM which will be the first product in a newly organized eBBM suite of products.  The secure messaging service, called BBM Protected, will provide messaging in a securely encrypted environment.  This service will work across both BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS Smartphones.  There will be no need of an OS upgrade.

The security will pair both secure software and secure hardware.  It will reinforce security through each level of the device from the OS to CPU and from boot ROM to file systems and applications.  Regulated organizations and industries will have secure solutions for instant messaging and communications.

Pricing structures are not yet available for either the devices or the services though they should begin to be available near the end of March.  The Q20 should be available to consumers during the second half of 2014.

While other companies are focusing on wearable technology and increased applications, BlackBerry is promoting reliability and security.  The entire eBBM suite of products will reinforce the core strengths of trust, privacy, and security.  It will be designed to work with BlackBerry Smartphones in order to offer what the company believes will be the best solutions, not just for any consumer, but especially those in regulated or sensitive markets.  BlackBerry is touting their newest technologies as powerful business tools for a variety of industries and consumers with the current highlight being on message security.

By Dee Mueller

The Globe and Mail

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