BlackBerry is making a renewed push into the tablet space with a device targeted at government and corporate users, but this time the product is based on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S 10.5.
The troubled Canadian vendor is branding the device under its Secusmart division, the German provider of “high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping solutions” that it acquired last year. Such technology is already used by the German and Canadian governments, among others, to counter eavesdropping.
IBM is also involved in the deal, providing technology that allows the tablet to securely separate work applications from personal ones on the device.
SecuTablet will be available by the third quarter for $2,360 and is undergoing certification at the German Federal Office for Information Security for the German VS-NfD (classified – for official use only) security rating.
According to Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart: “German government agencies will have a new way to access BlackBerry’s most secure and complete communications network in the world.”
More than 10,000 units will be shipped annually in Germany by next year, with more being sold worldwide by IBM, which is handling sales to global companies, Quelle told Bloomberg.
BlackBerry is the only mobile device management vendor that has achieved the ‘full operational capability’ level of certification for operation on US Department of Defence Networks.
Having had a tough ride in commercial markets, it has been focusing on government and business customers recently and moving from hardware to building security components and software into competitors’ devices as the frequency of cyber attacks mounts.
The new tablet also underscores efforts by BlackBerry’s chief executive John Chen, who took the helm in November 2013, to try to reignite growth by acquiring new technology through niche acquisitions and by forming partnerships to gain access to a larger potential customer base.
SecuTablet marks the second time BlackBerry has tried to enter the tablet market. In 2011 it launched the PlayBook, a consumer-focused tablet aimed at competing with Apple’s iPad. PlayBook sales were a big flop.