BlackBerry: Focusing on government users

Research in Motion Ltd., of Waterloo, Ontario, has been responding to the needs of its many U.S. government users in expanding the functionality of its BlackBerry two-way paging devices, the company's president said today.

'We are very government focused,' RIM president Mike Lazaridis told an audience at the FOSE 2003 trade show in Washington today.

In addition to civilian agencies and the Army, Navy and Air Force, the company's government customers include the Executive Office of the President and the Secret Service. The latest BlackBerry models have FIPS 140-2 certification approval for operation on all wireless network standards supported by BlackBerry, including Mobitex, DataTAC, GSM/GPRS, Nextel and CDMA 1X.

'The FIPS 140-2 validation will help facilitate the continuing adoption of BlackBerry by a broader range of government customers,' Lazaridis said.

The company also has worked closely with the National Security Agency to make government-specific Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions to Defense Department users.

The S/MIME public-key cryptography upgrade from NSA will allow encryption and digital signing of e-mail.

Lazaridis said the company has passed the 500,000 mark on subscribers, and that more than 10,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Servers have been deployed. The company also has established a BlackBerry Connect licensing program to let other companies deliver services and applications to their own devices through the enterprise server. Nokia cell phones and Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC are among the early devices that will take advantage of this.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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