Thursby Introduces New Features and New Name for PKard Reader

Thursby PKard offers secure mobility choices

The people have spoken and we have heard. 

You will now be able to sign, encrypt, and decrypt email in your browser!

Things may have seemed quiet around here lately, but that's just because we've been working on the biggest update since the release of our revolutionary CAC/PIV enabled browser four years ago. Since the release of PKard Reader, we've been telling you that S/MIME email through the browser is impossible due to limitations in OWA. Our CTO, Paul Nelson, has never really accepted that answer though, and in 2014 he came up with a solution to all our problems. It's taken a full year to get here, but we've finally released the first public beta of this amazing new technology and we're ready to give you a sneak peak. Grab some popcorn, 'cause it's about to get good!

 

The Highlights:

- Your mail account must be on Exchange 2010 (like web.mail.mil)
- Switch back and forth between browsing and reading email in a native format
- No data is stored on the device, so you don't have to worry about someone seeing sensitive data
- Calendaring and notes will be available in a future release
- Upon release PKard Reader will change name to Sub Rosa

 

 

So why have you been telling me this would never work?

Well the short answer is that for a while we really thought it wouldn't. Then as we got to understand the inner workings of OWA a little better we realized that maybe there was more to this after all. You see, OWA is not meant to be viewed in a mobile browser. As most of you are familiar with, this is what OWA looks like right now when you try to pull it up on your phone. 

 

Gross

Gross.

 

This fact wasn't just contributing to a bad viewing experience, though, it was also keeping us from enabling the key features required to sign, encrypt, and decrypt email. In order to get around that we had to do a little HTML magic to reformat the way you view your email and in the process turn on the stuff that let's you do the things you really need to do. While we jokingly refer to this as "Magic Mail" here in the office, the truth of the matter is that figuring out how all of this works on the back end and then translating it to your screen has taken a lot of time and a couple of restarts.

 

 

          

Oh look, mail that you can actually read!

 

So what's the catch?

Well, nothing's perfect. The first thing to know is that this great new feature currently only works for Outlook Web App 2010. That means if you are using Exchange ActiveSync or some other email service, this isn't going to work. Also, while you can do all this nifty stuff with your email, you still can't access your calendar or notes in OWA. We're working on that and hope to have it released soon, but we didn't want to hold things up while we worked that out. 

Here is another thing you should keep in mind: this is still a browser, not an email app. That means you aren't going to be able to see notifications on your phone when you receive a new email, and if you don't have internet connectivity you won't be able to see your email. The bonus to this set up, though, is that once you pull your card from the reader or close the app no one else will be able to read your email either. No data at rest is the ultimate in security and means that you can send secure emails from a personal device without worrying about them being lost or stolen. It also means that we aren't using up a bunch of memory on your phone. You're welcome!

 

Keep the air friendly. Don't email and fly!

 

Does all this sound confusing? Don't worry! The app still comes with the same great, free support that you've come to know and love. So if you run into any issues after the update, just contact our support team at +1(817) 478-5070 or support@thursby.com. They will be more than happy to help you out!

 

Am I still going to be able to get to websites?

Absolutely! If you look back at those screenshots above you'll see a little globe looking icon in the bottom left corner of the screen. Tapping this while you are looking at email will take you back to the browser just as you've always seen it. When you're ready to go back to your email there will be an icon that looks like an envelope, and with one tap you will be right back in your inbox. A demo video of how this all works will be posted back here in the blog shortly before the app is updated. 

 

What about Android?

Patience is a virtue, friend. Android is just around the corner. The public beta is expected to be released in a month or two and will have all the same great features we've been talking about for iOS, but with a look and feel that is much more native to Android. 

 

How do I get to be a beta tester?

Right now our beta slots are full. If you are interested in helping with future updates, send an email to sales@thursby.com with your name, device type, and why you think we should choose you.

 

Now what's this about a name change?

We felt like such a big feature deserved an equally big release, and, since no one can ever pronounce PKard correctly, (BTW- it was named after Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek and was meant to be pronounced that way) we decided that a name change was just the thing. 

 

Sorry Captain Picard. Another red shirt bites the dust.

 

Naming a product is not an easy task. I'll spare you the gory details and just skip to the good stuff. In case that big graphic at the start of the post didn't already give it away, when we release this big, wonderful update your PKard Reader app is going to become Sub Rosa. "Sub rosa" is Latin for "under the rose". In English the phrase denotes something done in secret. The symbol for sub rosa is a rose (hence the new app icon). It was often carved on confessionals to indicate that a confession would remain secret, much like your emails and web activity stay secret within the Sub Rosa app.

 

Sub Rosa

 

This is amazing! What's it gonna cost?

Our first priority is in supporting our troops and making your lives as easy as possible. That has been the driving force behind everything we do, so the free app that comes paired with our readers will remain 100% free. You've already done so much for us; this seems like the least we can do for you.

That pretty much covers it. We'll share more details as we get closer to the release date, so make sure you're friends with PKard Suite on Facebook to get the latest news first. And as always you can call or email us with any questions or concerns you might have and we will be happy to help you out. 

 

Until Later!

Jean Panek

Manager of Sales and Marketing