BlackBerry's Secusmart Unit Launches a Secure Tablet With IBM

The SecuTABLET, based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, uses data encryption from Secusmart, app containerization from IBM and will be sold by Secusmart and IBM.

BlackBerry, secure tablet, Secusmart, IBM, Samsung

BlackBerry's Secusmart division has teamed up with IBM to create a secure enterprise and government-aimed tablet computer that includes high security and data protection features for users around the world.

The SecuTABLET, which is based on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 tablet computer, was unveiled by Secusmart and IBM at the CeBIT 2015 technology conference in Germany on March 14, according to an announcement by the companies.

Secusmart, which was acquired in December 2014 as a Germany-based division of BlackBerry, provides its Secusmart Security Card for data and voice encryption in the tablet, while IBM provides the containerization or "app wrapping" processes for the deep security systems on the new device, the companies said.

The SecuTABLET works with BlackBerry's SecuSUITE for BlackBerry 10 portfolio and can be seamlessly integrated into existing SecuSUITE systems for deeper security, according to the partners.

The new device has been created with IBM and Samsung for use by national and international government agencies and companies and includes Vodafone Secure Call, an anti-eavesdropping app that ensures companies can make secure mobile voice calls, regardless of the platform and device being used, according to Secusmart. SecuSUITE for BlackBerry is already being used to protect the mobile communications of German and foreign governments as well as agencies and organizations responsible for providing emergency services.

"Security is ingrained in every part of BlackBerry's portfolio," Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart GmbH, said in a statement. "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."

The tablets will be priced around $2,400 and will be available starting this summer, a BlackBerry spokesperson told eWEEK.

Users of the SecuTABLET will still be able to access unsecured applications, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and WhatsApp, while their enterprise-critical applications will be protected. The new device is undergoing certification procedures with the German Federal Office for Information Security for the German VS-NfD (classified, for official use only) security rating, according to Secusmart.

Secusmart's parent company, BlackBerry, has also been busy lately introducing new products and services of their own. Earlier this month, BlackBerry unveiled a surprise smartphone, the Leap, which replaces the traditional BlackBerry physical keypad with a touch-screen aimed at getting the company's devices into the hands of younger mobile professionals.

The Leap, which was announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, includes a 5-inch HD display with 1,280 by 720 resolution, the latest BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 operating system, a Qualcomm MSM 8960 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board flash storage (expandable up to 128GB via a micro SD card), and a 2,800mAh battery for long life.

The Leap is built to run on 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks. The Leap will retail for $275 unlocked when it becomes available in April through, according to BlackBerry. The new smartphone also includes the enterprise security and management tools and features that are part of the continuing BlackBerry business mantra, with support for encryption, built-in malware protection and backup, wipe and restore capabilities.

Also announced this month was a new project, the BlackBerry Experience Suite, which is seen as a way for enterprises and small businesses to bring BlackBerry's enterprise-class applications to users of Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices from a trusted partner such as BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Experience Suite is expected to be offered by the end of 2015 and will help the company bring in new users even when companies are using competing devices.

In addition, BlackBerry launched its $449 BlackBerry Classic smartphone in December 2014, just a few months after unveiling its $599 BlackBerry Passport smartphone for enterprise users in September 2014.