The United States government traditionally prefers BlackBerries for their security features and it is known for barring its employees from sending classified messages using smartphones that do not meet security certifications. That is changing, though, as Uncle Sam is putting forth a test program that will see some U.S. officials, including troops, use smartphones running a modified version of Google’s Android software rather than a commercial one.
This modified Android version will be installed on commercially available phones sporting hardware that meets certain security criteria. According to “people involved in the project” who spoke to CNN, the forked Android version with added security features will let U.S. troops and government workers handle classified government documents over cellular networks. These secure devices will be first deployed to U.S. Army that has been testing touchscreen smartphones and tablets for nearly two years. Later, secure Android phones will arrive to certain federal agencies that will use them to send and receive government cables, the report noted.