Selim Bouri Image Credit: Naushad K. Cherrayil/©Gulf News


You can’t book a trip with the Airbus smartphone, but you will be able to handle an emergency situation with it,

Secure Land Communications (SLC), a business unit of Airbus, is launching the Tactilon Dabat, a rugged, mission-critical device equipped with 4G LTE and Tetra radio frequency. Terrestrial trunked radio (Tetra) is the mobile radio standard designed for emergency situations, closed user groups, special forces and security services.

Selim Bouri, head of Middle East North Africa (Mena) and Asia-Pacific for Secure Land Communications at Airbus, told Gulf News that the development of Tactilon Dabat started in 2016 with close cooperation with Abu Dhabi Police. The first model was launched in 2017. This is the second version of the smartphone. Dabat means ‘catch’ or ‘officer’ in Arabic.

“It [Tactilon Dabat] combines the functions of a mission-critical radio and a smartphone into a single device. We are bringing the Airbus grade security to the mobile network and that is the message we are putting out at Mobile World Congress,” he said.

With the Tactilon Dabat, the Google Play Store will not be available but will have an custom app store certified by SLC.

“We are planning to hold talks with apps developers who are interested in developing security and critical apps for us.” The company is also planning to hold a hackathon event in Dubai to attract app developers.

He said that SLC is supplying devices for all security networks for the GCC, except Oman.

“The region represents a very large and strategic market for us, which a continuously increasing demand for this kind of technology,” he said.

The 4.7-inch device is powered by 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 chip set with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage capacity and up to 128GB microSD card support. It houses 16MP rear camera and 5MP front camera.

It runs on hardened Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS, which means that more security features on top of it to safeguard against vulnerabilities, end-to-end data encryption, and water and dust resistant.

Participating for the first time at MWC, Bouri said an app, called Agnet, that is fully encrypted and protected is also offered for companies such as banks that might not be interested in investing millions in secure networks. With the app, users can turn their smartphone into a push-to-talk device and communicate with a Tetra device.

“We do secure networks, secure terminals and critical communications for military, army, firefighters and police. Now we have a new set of apps to allow the mobile operators to offer these apps to customers,” he said.