Report: Presidential BlackBerry coming soon

President Obama will soon get a new souped-up BlackBerry that is secure enough to pass muster with the National Security Agency.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read
President Obama's BlackBerry 8830 is getting the super-secure treatment. Research In Motion

After months of waiting, President Obama will soon get his super-secure BlackBerry.

The Washington Times newspaper reported Thursday that the presidential BlackBerry 8830 is "in the final stages of development by the National Security Agency." The agency is still testing the encryption software to ensure it's up to snuff. And the president could have his new device in a matter of months.

A Washington, D.C.-based company, Genesis Key, developed the software called SecureVoice that will be used to secure the high-security BlackBerry. Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, has also been involved in development, the Washington Times said.

Since the inauguration in January, President Obama, who vowed security officials would have to pry his BlackBerry out of his hands, has been using a cumbersome work-around to communicate with key members of his staff and close aides.

Specifically, he has been hooking up his existing BlackBerry to a security device called a Sectera Edge, made by General Dynamics. While the solution meets the NSA's security requirements, it wasn't ideal for the tech-savvy president, who before becoming leader of the free world was often photographed with his BlackBerry strapped to his hip.

With his new souped-up phone, President Obama will be able to text, e-mail, and make secure calls just like any other yuppy professional. But there's a catch. The new software will only allow President Obama to communicate with other people who have devices running the same encryption software. I suppose this means he won't be able to order a pizza on his way home from work using the presidential BlackBerry.

That said, the software, which works on any BlackBerry 8830 or Curve, will be installed on devices used by top officials and first lady Michelle Obama, the Washington Times reported.