It may not be good enough for the likes of AT&T or Verizon Wireless, but the U.S. government is giving a thumbs-up to Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
RIM said today that its PlayBook has received Federal Information Processing Standard certification, which means it can be deployed within U.S. federal government agencies. RIM said no other tablet on the market has gained certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, including Apple's smash-hit iPad.
"This certification demonstrates our continued commitment to meeting the needs of security-conscious organizations and enables the U.S. federal government to buy with confidence knowing that the PlayBook meets their computing policy requirements for protecting sensitive information." Scott Totzke, senior vice president of BlackBerry security at RIM, said in a statement.
The certification is a rare bright spot for a tablet that has stumbled out of the gate. Despite RIM's expectations of strong carrier support, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have barely acknowledged the product. The company's baffling decision to not include support for e-mail and calendar within the device turned off its retail partners and consumers alike, although RIM plans to fix that.
RIM on its last earnings call said it shipped 500,000 PlayBooks to its retail partners, but it's unclear how many have actually been purchased by consumers.
Still, RIM supporters say the PlayBook has a chance to thrive in highly secure environments, such as in security-sensitive companies and government agencies. Despite its woes, the company continues to have a lock on a vast majority of enterprise customers with its BlackBerrys, and could use its existing relationships to push the PlayBook.
But while the iPad hasn't been certified for government use, Apple's tablet is increasingly finding its way inside businesses that once shunned non-BlackBerry equipment.