BlackBerry announced their membership into a new association today called the Fido Alliance. These guys are pushing a two-factor authentication standard in order to reduce our reliance on passwords. These systems range from biometrics (like fingerprint scanning), location awareness, NFC tokens, one-time passwords and, most importantly, embedded hardware. Though BBM, Protect, and BlackBerry World are mentioned in the press release, the end user experience for BBID isn't going to change any in the immediate future, but it's easy to imagine this technology enabling BlackBerry devices to become security tokens in their own right for two-factor authentication.
For example, you could set your PayPal account so that it could only authenticate transfers made from your BlackBerry since it has a unique and certified identity. Alternatively, you could set it so that with an additional PIN number punched in on the device, you could open doors with electronic locks, or start your car.
Security is BlackBerry's wheelhouse, so the partnership isn't entirely out of left field, but Fido is a relatively new organization formed just last summer and officially launched this February. As you can imagine, it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of interoperability right now, but BlackBerry is the 40th. member in the alliance and will take a seat as a board member. They're joining PayPal, Lenovo, Google and NXP, just to name a few of the folks in the working groups.
It seems like the Fido Alliance will bear some productive fruit down the road, in any case - does anyone want to take a guess as to how they'll all work together? What kind of authentication mechanisms would you like to see integrated on BlackBerry?