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Research In Motion announced Thursday that its BlackBerry 10 operating system has received FIPS 140-2 certification. This means that it is secure enough for use by federal and state government agencies. RIM pointed out that this is the first time one of its platforms has been FIPS certified ahead of launch.
RIM has always taken security seriously. The bulk of its devices are protected by AES 256-bit encryption. The FIPS certification is just icing on the cake that RIM hopes to stuff into the mouths of government and business customers once its BB10 platform launches.
"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, security certifications director 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."
FIPS certification may not be enough to convince those potential government and business customers to pick BlackBerry 10 over rivals such as iOS, Android or Windows Phone, however.
[ RIM may have already missed the boat. See BlackBerry 10 Launch: Is March Too Late? ]
At least one analyst is not holding out hope for the unreleased smartphone platform.
"We believe BB10 is likely to be [dead on arrival]," said James Faucette, a Pacific Crest analyst, reports Bloomberg. "We expect the new OS to be met with a lukewarm response at best and ultimately likely to fail."
RIM seeded BlackBerry 10 to more than 50 mobile network operators around the world in late October. Those operators will take three to four months to evaluate the platform and make it ready for their networks. RIM's launch windows will fall somewhere between mid-February and possibly as late as mid-April.
It has two smartphones on deck for launch. The first will be an all-touch device and the second will include a QWERTY keyboard. Most wireless network operators in North America have said they will support the new platform from RIM. Whether or not it can make a dent in the stranglehold Android and iOS have on the market is not clear.
Dead on arrival or not, we can rest easy knowing that, at least, BlackBerry 10 will be secure.