President Obama may have swapped his BlackBerry for an encrypted Galaxy S4

President Obama may have swapped his BlackBerry for an encrypted Galaxy S4
Last week, the news broke out that President Obama is finally exiting his Luddite period, and ditching his BlackBerry for undisclosed smartphone. At the time, he complained that the new phone is actually not that smart, as the staff told him: "For security reasons -- this is a great phone, state-of-the-art -- but it doesn't take pictures, you can't text, the phone doesn't work, you can't play your music on it." Basically, "it’s like one of those ‘play phones’ you’d give to a three-year-old,” said the President.

Now, this is obviously a heavily modified smartphone, but what make and model could it be? Well, it turns out that there is there's just one mobile device that has been equipped with all the requirements of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) that is in charge of the White House comms services - a so-called "hardened" Samsung Galaxy S4. Before you scoff at the notion that the president uses a three-year old phone, consider that is is not your typical S4. 

Back in 2014, a bunch of Samsung phones went through the motions to get approved for the Department of Defense's Mobility Classified Capability-Secret (DMCC-S) program, mainly because of Samsung's KNOX enterprise-grade security. Out of those phones, currently only the S4 is still approved to access the classified SIPRNet defense network, so that's most likely what Obama is using at the moment. Still, there seem to be plenty of extra restrictions placed on the purported S4, like the ability to install only a preset variety of Android apps from DISA's Mobile Application Store, or placing calls only via switchboards or secure VoIP functionality. 

The first to test drive the "hardened" Galaxy S4 was Secretary of State John Kerry, so there is every chance that Obama might have been taken on the same path. In any case, we can't help but chuckle at the fact that the President may be using Samsung's latest and greatest for 2014.

source: ArsTechnica

Related phones

Galaxy S4
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(17h 3G talk time)

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22 Comments

1. manojmcn

Posts: 633; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

For the solace of Android fans who are still stuck with Kikat & Jellybean.

3. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Android fans does not simply stuck with Kitkat & Jellybean.

14. aBoss

Posts: 164; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

The Samsung s4 still better than the iphone 6s

2. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Ah! Sammy fans rejoice as it turns out that The President of the United States is now using a Sammy S4... Why in the world Mr. President of The Yankee Empire can't use an old fashioned, old school Flip Phone instead??? A Nokia 3310 can do EVERYTHING this 'customized' (watered down?) S4 can do...!!! Come-on President; get an old 3310... Speaking of which; I'd LOVE to sell my 3310 for a million bucks... I love this phone; but given my current financial status; I can really use a million bucks! Specially the more expensive Yankee ones... Should I post my 3310 on Washington Craigslist???

7. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

can it do secure VoIP like stated above? does it have "enterprise-grade security"? troll harder next time..

18. PenTiltoKet

Posts: 552; Member since: May 18, 2016

Obama security dude following Edward Snowded advice to take out camera & perhaps microphone. And not allowing obama to install any spy apps they (the govt) made.

23. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

What's the use. He would have installed facebook and twitter, both are data mining apps.

4. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2264; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

he shouldve get the BLU pure XL..

19. PenTiltoKet

Posts: 552; Member since: May 18, 2016

Why? I think S4 is great.

5. tokuzumi

Posts: 1900; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I actually feel bad for the guy. He has to suffer with the S4. My last day with my S4 is tomorrow, and I can't wait. When I got it 2 years ago, it was great for all of about 2 months, and then the traditional lag set in, and I realized some of the apps I installed from the play store became system apps (Amazon and TripAdvisor to name a few). That really soured my experience with the phone.

6. Shocky unregistered

Galaxy S4 was a decent phone, hopefully it's a Google Edition based interface and not touchwiz. Touchwiz on the Galaxy S4 was nasty.

9. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

Until the 5.0 update.

12. Shocky unregistered

I don't remember there being much difference, Samsung don't update touchwiz on older devices so they will lag forever regardless of Android version unless you flash it. Galaxy S6 was the first Samsung phone with touchwiz to be lag free, still took them a few months to sort that out.

13. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Well I still have my wife's S4. It has Android 5.01. It is certainly faster than it was on KitKit. We use it for a remote and to play music. There is nothing wrong with the S4. Some people just like to pick on BS.

10. KingSam

Posts: 1449; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Samsung SE incoming :D. Jokes aside it sucks to be president imagine one of us geeks how would we survive.

20. PenTiltoKet

Posts: 552; Member since: May 18, 2016

You could be the president of small country that not affraid to be hacked / ear-droved.

11. Eraman

Posts: 162; Member since: Dec 13, 2015

German leaders still love  BlackBerry 10 :D

21. PenTiltoKet

Posts: 552; Member since: May 18, 2016

German leader don't love BB, they were affraid of Android and iOS, so they stucked with BB. Wait until 2018 when they need to buy their BB10 device from ebay... just like meanestfoolish who went AWOL on BB news.

15. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Why s4. it is really old. Android is more exposed to security threat than blackberry. Android system is open source. Hackers can hack into it easily. IOS is now owned by FBI. next up is windows phone. windows phone is more secure than IOS and android.

16. midge27

Posts: 46; Member since: Oct 19, 2014

Samsung partnered with BlackBerry to fix their KNOX security. Seems like a silly decision to switch to a galaxy. The classic is superior for typing speed/accuracy and he's already used to the keyboard layout. Would recommend a passport, but not for an outgoing pres because the form factor takes months to learn. What's the point of having an android or ios device without apps or a camera? Thought iphones and ipods where the device of choice for three year olds. If it's the only certified device then I guess it's the only choice. Would of stuck with his old phone personally.

17. PenTiltoKet

Posts: 552; Member since: May 18, 2016

This is it?? 16 hour after this news and no meanestfoolish? Is he finally fired? Oh well, Obama moved on, Meanestfoolish got kicked in the ball.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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