Barack Obama is days away from being sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. While I'm sure he's anxious to start the gig, there's one thing he's going to miss: his precious BlackBerry . Although he told Barbara Walters that he was negotiating to keep his PDA, his efforts have been unsuccessful. In a recent interview withCNBC, Obama said, "I'm still clinging to my BlackBerry. They're going to pry it out of my hands." Unfortunately for the President-elect, run-of-the-mill BlackBerry phones are not secure enough for the classified information he'll be receiving in between Mark Gormley videos.
CNet outlines a few handsets that are secure. Both are products of the US Defense Department's "Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device" project...and both have taken severe beatings with the ugly stick.
The L-3 Communications Guardian (pictured right) might as well be called Fischer Price's My First PDA. The Guardian runs on variousGSM, CDMA, and Worldcell frequencies. Most importantly, local files are covered by an encryption scheme. Sure it's a rugged device, but I think Obama would be shocked going from the smooth experience of a BlackBerry to the jankiness that is Windows Mobile.
General Dynamics' Sectera Edge (pictured below) has "been certified by the National Security Agency as being acceptable for Top Secret voice communications and Secret e-mail and Web sites." It runs on GSM, CDMA, and WiFi. The Sectera Edge looks like the Palm Treo's steroid-addled cousin -- it's dust proof, water proof, and highly shock resistant. Sadly, it too runs Windows Mobile. It does, however, have a nifty secondary "trusted display" screen below the keyboard. I imagine Obama would find that feature handy for messages things like, "STFU Joe! Go adjust your hair plugs!"
You know, as the future leader of one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, you'd think Obama could snag himself a better phone. Can't he call up Steve Jobs and say, "Look dude, I know you're dying, but whip me up a super-secure iPhone before you check out." Or maybe he can call Google's Eric Schmidt and say, "I understand you want to be my CTO. Well, as your tryout, why don't you make a secure Android phone?"
I guess the perks of being President aren't all they're cracked up to be....