RIM announces next generation BlackBerry smart card reader

Research In Motion (RIM) has announced a new model of the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader, a lightweight, wearable, ISO 7816 compliant card reader that enables proximity controlled access to a user’s BlackBerry smartphone and computer.

The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader uses Bluetooth 2.0 technology with advanced AES-256 encryption to enable secure pairing and communications between the reader, the BlackBerry smartphone, the computer and PKI applications.

The new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader features: Enhanced Design. A sleeker design measuring only 3.98” x 2.4” x 0.57” and weighing only 2.26 oz. makes the peripheral more comfortable to wear. It also features a larger display and backlighting for easier viewing, as well as power management features that can extend battery life between charges (900mAh integrated lithium ion battery).

Increased Security. When used with the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution, the new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader offers additional security options that can be set by the IT administrator.
Additional Content Protection. IT administrators can configure settings to allow handset passwords to work only if the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader is within range. These settings add another layer of protection on top of the handset password and will also be enforceable for a secondary password required to unlock encrypted data on the handset.

More Complex Bluetooth Passwords. The previous BlackBerry Smart Card Reader model supported a randomly generated 8-digit numeric Bluetooth pairing PIN and this new model can now support more complex Bluetooth pairing PINs with both characters (symbols, letters, capital letters) and numbers.

Support for a Wide Range of Smart Cards. The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader supports all ISO 7816 compliant smart cards and provides out of the box support for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards, Common Access Cards (CAC) and Safenet 330 cards.

Organisations also now have the ability to deploy the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader as a security accessory for BlackBerry smartphones, even if the organisation does not use smart cards. Once paired with the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader via Bluetooth, the BlackBerry smartphone will automatically lock if it is out of range of the reader.

The new BlackBerry Smart Card Reader is expected to be available in September.