DSD approves BlackBerry PlayBook

Research in Motion (RIM) this morning announced its new PlayBook tablet had received certification for use by the Australian Government.

The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) has approved the PlayBook for use by Australian Governmental agencies, although agency staff must follow strict guidelines set out by the DSD.

The PlayBook — which requires a BlackBerry smartphone in order to gain full application access to the Internet via the BlackBerry Bridge app — has a 7″ touch display, and runs RIM’s BlackBerry operating system. Today’s certification means government agencies can now use the tablet with data classified up to the restricted or protected levels — a first for any tablet device available in Australia, according to RIM.

“We will continue to work with government departments and organisations locally and internationally to ensure that employees can access and share information with ease and in the knowledge that their information is protected at the highest level,” Scott Deacon, manager security certifications at Asia-Pacific BlackBerry Security said in a statement this morning. “This again demonstrates our leadership in the government sector and our commitment and investment in secure mobile technology.”

RIM’s PlayBook tablet competes in a heavily contested tablet market in Australia, with Apple’s iPad currently dominating local sales.

However the PlayBook is targeted more towards businesses and corporate users, with — as today’s announcement suggests — more of an emphasis on data security than on providing the latest ‘cool’ features for consumers that other tablets, such as those running Android or the iPad may have.

The PlayBook went on sale in Australia nearly a month and a half ago on the 20th June, for similar prices as Apple’s iPad 2. Just after the local launch however, RIM revised the global sales projections for the tablet after 500,000 were shipped in the device’s launch quarter.

Research in Motion’s BlackBerry smartphone was approved by the DSD for use by Government agencies in April 2005. Scott Totzke, Director, Government Technology at Research In Motion, said at the time that the approval would provide the Government with the “maximum advantage and ROI on their wireless deployments.”

The news comes as DSD is also working to certify Apple’s iOS platform, which is used on the company’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch products. However, DSD has not yet yet started evaluating Google’s Android platform for use within the public sector just yet — seeing no immediate need.

Image credit: Research in Motion