Research In Motion and BlackBerry have long been considered the undisputed kings of mobile security. BlackBerrys are the go-to devices for the government when it comes to classified communication. If Google has any say in the matter, however, it won’t be that way forever. Google wants to take Android security to the next level, making it the default platform for government and military use.
Google, along with George Mason University, is working very closely with the NSA to develop a top level security certified version of Android. A “hardened” kernel has already been developed and is being tested for its Federal Information Processing Standard 104-2 certification. Eventually, Android will have a higher security clearance than BlackBerry.
The Army, Justice Department, White House and FBI have all shown interest in using the new high security Android in both tablets and phones. The government is looking to push communications away from radios and towards smartphones. According to Michael McCarthy, operations director of the Army’s Brigade Modernization Command’s Mission Command Complex, the move from radios to phones is “potentially a multi-billion dollar effort.” Android will be a huge part of that.
With the pace at which things are currently going, the highly secure version of Android should be available by 2012. Android devices could be deployed as soon as late March of next year.