Obama to keep Blackberry, with added security & features

Newly inaugurated President Barack Obama has won the first major battle of his administration, the fight to keep his Blackberry. But when you're the leader of the free world, not just any Blackberry will do. Obama's new smartphone is reportedly a Sectéra Edge made by General Dynamics, not exactly something you'll be able to pick up at your local Sprint store.

First off, the president's new Blackberry isn't technically a Blackberry, at least in the traditional sense. It runs a specialized version Windows Mobile with additional Blackberry software on top. When your job takes you across the country or around the globe at a moments notice, you don't have time to worry if you'll be in your coverage area, so the Sectéra Edge has global roaming over both GSM and CDMA networks. It also features advanced encryption of all traffic, including phone conversations, via the National Security Agency.

While not the most attractive of phones when compared to the some of the other Blackberry models Obama was probably used to, the phone makes up for it in an abundance of ports and features.

"Use will be limited and the security is enhanced to ensure his ability to communicate but to do so effectively," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained in his first conference with reporters today.

Gibbs also explained that because the president's e-mail traffic will, with very few exceptions, be subject to the President Records Act it will all be preserved for historical purposes. Ever since the election, Obama has been adament about feeding "his addiction" and the decision for him to keep it is "a compromise that allows him to stay in touch with senior staff and a small group of personal friends," Gibbs said.

Past presidents have made no significant use of email, at all.

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Political issues aside, general disagreement with his policies, it's great to see a President embrace technology like he is, and should be a very important trait in successive Presidents.

Shadrack said,
That phone in the picture looks like a brick!


It isn't designed to look good, it's designed for security and as long as it performs that function it doesn't matter what it looks like.

It kinda reminds me of the Panasonic Toughbook in the fact that it is designed to be robust for a reason, its used by the military.

My opinion is to give the man what he wants.
he's running our country for God's sake. I want him to be happy and I want him to be as up to date as possible.
I'll gladly chip in my tax dollars if he thinks it's an important part of his job.

i wonder if there will be a 'civilian' version produced? like, obama is very popular... back when Sarah Palin was in the running, lots of women around here dressed up like her... an 'unfortified' look-alike version would also be something like the Humvee, like a symbol of America

more importantly, will it withstand being dropped? or will it shatter to pieces just like obama's old blackberry....

According to the spec page for the phone (listed in the article):

The Sectéra Edge is designed to MIL-STD-810F specifications for Drop, Shock, Vibration, Operating and Storage Temperature, Temperature Shock, Water Resistance, Dust, Humidity and Altitude.

I think it should take a few drops onto the tarmac.

Ok here is what i think.
Obama is being provided this phone with the reasoning to keep in touch with the general people and not get sucked in a bubble.
So why should the email be kept secret,i know making it public will make it a spam magnet,but then again why the "keep in touch with the people" argument.
I think he should not have gotten it.He shoudl be able to make some sacrifices[jus an opinion,so don't get hyper]

DOOOMKULTUS said,
Ok here is what i think.
Obama is being provided this phone with the reasoning to keep in touch with the general people and not get sucked in a bubble.
So why should the email be kept secret,i know making it public will make it a spam magnet,but then again why the "keep in touch with the people" argument.
I think he should not have gotten it.He shoudl be able to make some sacrifices[jus an opinion,so don't get hyper]

its not just about the email, by law the emails will be public anyway
its when you get into this situation when the President is being hunted by assassins or whatever and he has to call for help, he cant just let anyone know where he is in that situation, thats whats the encryption is for

The interface has improved/is improving a lot for business use I think its a lot better/easier to use than win mobile. I've only use 1 blackberry before and only used it for a month.

joemailey said,
The interface has improved/is improving a lot for business use I think its a lot better/easier to use than win mobile. I've only use 1 blackberry before and only used it for a month.


To bad this phone IS A WINDOWS MOBILE PHONE. Just running some blackberry access apps ontop of it

majortom1981 said,
To bad this phone IS A WINDOWS MOBILE PHONE. Just running some blackberry access apps ontop of it

Interesting, and yet most of his team are Mac users. Then again, just because you prefer Macs doesn't by default mean you'll choose an iPhone. Tastes vary.

majortom1981 said,
To bad this phone IS A WINDOWS MOBILE PHONE. Just running some blackberry access apps ontop of it


Technically, this isn't a Windows Mobile Phone as its Windows CE 6.0 based. Thats why the Interface looks different to consumer WinMo Phones.

why do ppl like blackcherries?
its just for emails right?
the interface is soooo crap as well!

microsoft should just buyout RIM job

They are a network admins dream to work with though. Can you prevent 100 mobiles phones from allowing the user to send SMS in five seconds?

I agree though, if you want Exchange mail you can do that with an iPhone or Windows Mobile. Even Nokia's have Mail for Exchange now.

You did read the article, right? The part where the Prez needs a SECURE computer to NSA standards. You do realize that the WORLD runs on Windows now. Did you really think that "our pretty computer phone is so niche that hackers don't bother to hack it" is the same as REAL modern secure technology?!

excalpius said,
You did read the article, right? The part where the Prez needs a SECURE computer to NSA standards. You do realize that the WORLD runs on Windows now. Did you really think that "our pretty computer phone is so niche that hackers don't bother to hack it" is the same as REAL modern secure technology?!

I'm quite sure if Obama really wanted an iPhone (there is no evidence that he does), Apple would have worked with the approrpriate agency to produce a version that was secure enough for him to use.

And the REAL WORLD (whatever that means) includes Apple (at least 30 million OS X users), Linux, Unix, and all associated variations.

DomZ said,
Or Global Dynamics (Eureka)


Like Global Dynamics, General Dynamics is a long-time military contractor; the Sectera Edge is supplied under contract to the military for the express purpose of secure mobile communications. Another big purchaser of the Sectera Edge (for the same reasons) is AG-designate Eric Holder's Justice Department (specifically, the various US Attorney's Offices); further, the Sectera Edge is specifically permitted to access RIM's network because of the various government contracts (it is, in fact, one of the few non-RIM-built devices with such permission).

Why can't he just not take the risk and ditch it? I'm sorry, but i don't care how secure they "say" it is..... it's still hackable. He's a fool on SO many levels.....

No, he's educated. There's a whole lot of people in the world who live in a very secure world because they're not running on strictly consumer level gear. You didn't think the military or big business went phone/tech-less did you?!

If you really want to accuse me of Plagiarism you better have the balls and a good lawyer to back it up. The quotes are from an article on CNN Political Ticker. The link wasn't added by mistake after writing it but it has been added now. If you feel you can do a better job then us, please feel free to submit your own articles to the site and allow the members to accuse you of all sorts of things.

It's plagiarism if you don't include a source, whether that was by mistake or not is irrelevant. I never said it was intentional. And I don't have to be able to do a better job to be able to offer valid criticism.

I don't like your aggressive tone, particularly when it was YOU that erred.

Marshalus,

Why is it so hard to include what the sources are for a news post? You can still have it be original content... but otherwise it gives the impression that Neowin has field staff out investigating these stories first hand.

Isnt this hypocritical though? Isnt he all for bailing out american car companies but was so adimant about keeping his canadian phone?

PS thats not a blackberry. Thats a windows mobile device made by general dynamics. Also windows mobile can use blackberry services.

Is everybody calling this a blackberry when its not really one? How some people say i want a coke when they really get pepsi?

majortom1981 said,
Isnt this hypocritical though? Isnt he all for bailing out american car companies but was so adimant about keeping his canadian phone?

PS thats not a blackberry. Thats a windows mobile device made by general dynamics. Also windows mobile can use blackberry services.

Is everybody calling this a blackberry when its not really one? How some people say i want a coke when they really get pepsi?

Isn't General Dynamics the company that manufactures the F-16?

LTD said,


Isn't General Dynamics the company that manufactures the F-16?


Yeah its not a blackberry its a windows mobile phone . The title says its a blackberry but the actual article satates its a windows mobile phone.

The real blackberry is canadian made. the title should be chanegd.

Isn't General Dynamics the company that manufactures the F-16?

General Dynamics developed and initially manufactured the F-16, but today the F-16 is manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

majortom1981
PS thats not a blackberry. Thats a windows mobile device made by general dynamics.

The article explains exactly what happened. The title is not being changed. He wanted Blackberry service, and that is what he had. How about you worry more about things other then how we title our stories?

From what I've read, this puppy is going to cost about $3200. Sounds about right consideiring it has the capabilities to accept crypto fills like the secure phones I remember from being in the Army. To me, it looks like the love child of a Treo 750w and a STU-III.

The trusted display is probably used to verify who you are calling, much like the ones seen on the STU-III and current STE.

When Defense Messaging System was fairly new, we had instances where someone would accidentally send a message that was supposed to be secure as unclassified. I remember once in Korea where I had to wipe three machines that this happened to. There was a rumor a General did this by mistake but I can't confirm or deny. I'm not saying Obama will do this but I'm confident that he'll get used to his new toy.

Good thing that fill devices have come a long way since this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/CYZ-10 and this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KYK-13 . Those things were sloooow

Those bring back memories of my time in the Navy. I was and electronics technician who specialized in crypto equipment. The radiomen on my ship were constantly screwing up the switches on the KYK-13's. I also remember those AT&T STU-III's from my time at a secure facility in Japan.

Thanks for the flashbacks!

thanks for the flashback, I remember having to go fill radios for the damn 13B gunbunnies since they couldn't figure out, nor have the security clearance to operate the damn CYZ-10, or as we 13D's called it, ANCD.

Obama may actually pay for it. He does have to pay for quite a few things himself and it's mostly for personal use. My wife said she heard on TV it was like $3800 something. I could not find an exact price.

MarcoDigi said,
Wouldn't doubt that Obama'd pay for it. At least, I hope he does.

Lets see...having one of the most powerful and important men in the world wanting to use your product...

More than likely, it's free from the company, along with whatever service he goes with.

excalpius said,
Sales are going to spike for this bad boy...

hehe, yup and the CIA ans NSA is going to go crazy over not beeing able to listen in on encrypted calls

morphen said,
hehe, yup and the CIA ans NSA is going to go crazy over not beeing able to listen in on encrypted calls :p

ARTICLE said,
It also features advanced encryption of all traffic, including phone conversations, via the National Security Agency.

I'm quite sure the NSA would have access to the information since they are the ones providing the security on the phone.

No, but at the same time one reasons why Clinton and Bush never used Email was because it could be subpoenaed if a need of investigation comes a long and they need to ask for all email records from the President on the WH servers. I know a friend of mine who worked in White House Communications mentioned this to me about Clinton. I'm not sure about Gore or Cheney however.

*of course what I just wrote was somewhat mentioned in the said article... caffeine help me please!

All staff emails are subject to the same act, so having his on there as well isn't exactly going to be that overwhelming I think. I think Obama's point is that he's not going to be sending anything over email that anyone would really want to subpoena, or that he's afraid to have read if they do.