Beyond Android, Motorola develops WM6 security for US Army

While Motorola is engaged in device development for the Android platform, the company's Good Technology Group software arm has now garnered US Defense Department certification on a secure e-mail system for Windows Mobile devices.

What's happening right now at Good Technology Group (GTG), the Motorola division formed through Motorola's buyout of a RIM rival called Good Technology, Inc.? For one thing, Good's Secure S/MIME technology has now jumped the last hurdle for becoming the first secure mobile message system deployed among US Army troops, said Ravi Iyer, group product manager at Good.

Good, a specialist in messaging software "very much like RIM's," is also building products for the Symbian and Palm device platforms, Iyer told BetaNews. "But our focus is on Windows Mobile and Symbian," he noted.

Earlier this week, a Motorola spokesperson confirmed to BetaNews that Motorola -- a member along with HTC and Samsung of the Google-spearheaded Open Handset Alliance (OHA) -- is now working on products for Google's Android platform. T-Mobile last week launched the G1 -- a phone one and the same as HTC's "Dream" phone -- as the first Android-based mobile device.

In an interview with BetaNews afterward, Iyer confirmed that Motorola is indeed engaged in Android development. He also said, however, that he isn't personally aware of any Android development work at Good -- a group inside Motorola that's been rumored in some published accounts to be undergoing large-scale expansion of an Android development team.

In Motorola's current structure, Good -- an two-year-old entity that does software development only -- is part of the company's Enterprise Mobility Group, according to Iyer. "We primarily do enterprise development," he elaborated.

Motorola reorganized its mobile phone arm last April into the Mobile Device Group, a division with two product teams: one for lower-end, voice-only phones, and the other for feature and smart phones. Each team within the Mobile Device Group combines hardware and software specialists.

Now, after becoming the first solution of its kind to pass the rigors of the Defense Department's Authority to Operate (ATO) certification process, Good's Messaging Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (Good S/MIME) is ready for deployment among Army troops.

"The Army is the largest organization [within the Defense Department], and they are standardizing on Windows Mobile," Iyer told BetaNews.

Implemented in conjunction with government smart cards known as CAC cards, the S/MIME solution is designed to use PKI and other encryption, integrity, and authentication technologies for end-to-end security of messages and attached Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and pictures.

While the Army won't be using S/MIME for all messaging from handheld devices, it will be used for "confidential" messages, according to Iyer. "But you won't need it to tell people there will be doughnuts for breakfast in the morning," he quipped.

Unlike other messaging approaches, S/MIME is not susceptible to either spoofing or interception, Iyer contended. Motorola's Good S-MIME can be used with portable CAC card reader devices from Motorola and other manufacturers.

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