RIM's PlayBook tablet approved for U.S. government use

TORONTO Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:29pm EDT

A woman holds the a RIM PlayBook in Toronto, April 19, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

A woman holds the a RIM PlayBook in Toronto, April 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet has received the green light for use in U.S. federal government agencies, the BlackBerry maker said on Thursday.

It is the first tablet computer to receive the FIPS 140-2 certification, RIM said in a statement.

"This certification ... enables the U.S. federal government to buy with confidence knowing that the PlayBook meets their computing policy requirements for protecting sensitive information," said Scott Totzke, a senior vice-president for BlackBerry security at RIM.

RIM's reputation for secure delivery of corporate and government data gave it a dominant position providing smartphones to bankers, lawyers and politicians. But its grip has weakened as corporations increasingly allow employees to access work systems from other devices.

RIM's shares jumped almost 5 percent to $27.95 by mid-afternoon on Thursday.

The shares have lost more than half their value since the start of the year, weighed down by disappointing earnings, a lackluster PlayBook launch and concern that RIM's devices fail to impress compared with Apple's iPhone and iPad and devices using Google's Android software.

Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 (FIPS 140-2) is used to judge the security of mobile devices, servers, routers and firewalls, for use by federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Apple has applied for certification for both the iPhone and the iPad.

RIM last week received the same certification for a smart card reader that locks a BlackBerry smartphone when the two are not in close proximity.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Janet Guttsman)

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