Blackberry Re-enters Tablet Market…Sort Of

by Matt Klassen on March 16, 2015

Blackberry is returning to the tablet market, albeit in a roundabout sort of way. As part of the company’s ongoing strategy to employ key mobile partnerships,  Blackberry has announced the “SecuTABLET”, a heavily modified Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. The new Blackberry offering is developed in partnership with Samsung, IBM, and Secusmart, the German software encryption specialist Blackberry acquired last year.

Touted as an ultra ‘high security’ tablet, the device has been modified with Secusmart’s Security Card to provide enhanced voice and data encryption as well as deploying IBM’s “app wrapping,” which provides secure demarcation between sensitive work apps and less secure personal software, the company explained.

Now it’s abundantly clear that Blackberry has created this device for the few markets it still has some presence in, meaning it’s designed for government, regulated industries, and security conscious enterprise sectors, but with a price tag of almost $2400 it’s unlikely you’ll see the SecuTablet on store shelves any time soon.

In the wake of ongoing privacy scandals involving government and hackers an entirely new mobile niche has been created, highly secure smartphones and tablets, and it’s clear that Blackberry is looking to cash in on this growing market by following what others have already done, adding enhanced security features to popular consumer devices.

“Security is ingrained in every part of BlackBerry’s portfolio, which includes voice and data encryption solutions,” said Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart GmbH, a BlackBerry company. “National and international government customers have entrusted their voice and data communications with the Secusmart Security Card for years. This same technology is what secures the new SecuTABLET. Working alongside IBM and Samsung, we have added the last link in the chain of the Federal Security Network. Subject to certification of the SecuTABLET, German government agencies will have a new way to access BlackBerry’s most secure and complete communications network in the world.”

As mentioned, the new SecuTablet is clearly not made for the normal consumer, as its next generation security features make it ideal for government and enterprise clients, with the company noting that it is designed to be secure enough to hold classified documents. It employs Secusmart’s encryption technology, which provides voice and data transfer security between employees for instance, and features IBM’s data “silos,” a security framework that separates secure apps from typical non-secure ones like Facebook or Twitter.

That means that even if an employee unintentionally downloads malicious software through an unsecure channel, it won’t compromise the secure data stored on the device. It also means that users can surf Facebook on the same device they hold sensitive data, without fear of one negatively impacting the other.

With this tablet release two things are abundantly clear to me: First, Blackberry’s new hardware strategy is built around partnerships, a way for Chen to soften the blow of failure should any of these latest devices follow their defunct predecessors. By brining Samsung and IBM in on this project theWaterloofirm is able to couch itself behind more established brands, removing the pressure to produce its own hardware while still being able to advertise what it does best: mobile security.

Second, it is clear Blackberry knows that if it’s to have any success it needs to fill the last remaining market niche, enterprise security in the BYOD age. Given that Blackberry has taken a popular consumer tablet and added ultra secure features means that employees will be more likely to use it for work and play, and given those security features, employers will be more willing to deploy it among their respective workforces.

While this device won’t rocket Blackberry back up the mobile charts any time soon, it is undoubtedly a solid effort that fills an ever-growing need in the mobile market, the need for solid security credentials on a functional device.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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