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US Department of Defense plans to procure iPhones and Android devices

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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US Department of Defense plans to procure iPhones and Android devices
Research in Motion has been doing everything it can to keep a certain amount of mind-share with its clients. RIM’s most treasured client is the US government, whose requirement for enterprise manageability and security is paramount.

Technology advances rapidly though, and it appears that several agencies are willing to look at alternative products. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) recently awarded a contract to replace their BlackBerry devices, all 17,000 of them, with iPhones.  All RIM’s vice-president of government solutions could say was to simply reiterate the company’s commitment to bring BlackBerry 10 to market to meet the needs of its clients.  However, we can see what RIM's decision to push the scheduled release of BlackBerry 10 to the first quarter of 2013 is truly going to cost.

RIM’s user base is still growing, but the bulk of that growth is in emerging markets. Business customers always provide a higher margin and somewhat more stability. So while RIM may survive the consumer fluctuations, if this trend on business and government sector clients continues, it will not survive an exodus of business customers, which is happening with alarming regularity in the United States and other parts of the world.

The Pentagon has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to build a system that will secure and manage over 160,000 Apple and Android devices and be scalable to possibly handle as many as 8 million devices. While this may pose a real threat to RIM, the Canadian manufacturer is well within its ability to compete on this contract with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. That product was released earlier this year by RIM and allows organizations to manage iOS and Android devices concurrently with BlackBerrys on their networks.

However, the solicitation, while noting that it would be useful if this new network would also manage BlackBerry devices, it does not list that parameter as a requirement.  That may mean the department is either willing to manage things separately or, it does not plan to buy any more BlackBerrys. Knowing government spending, that latter is not likely, but opening this door to other platforms is quite revealing.

Sources: Defense Information Systems Agency and The Washington Post

13 Comments
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posted on 31 Oct 2012, 02:18 5

1. Cyan3boN (Posts: 425; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)


Android makes sense as you can mod the os to your liking. but why the locked down iphones!!.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 02:29 2

2. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2992; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


There's a 'US' in US Department of Defence.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 03:15

3. StreetNerd (Posts: 700; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)


nice one

must be "iS....."

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:16

6. darkkjedii (Posts: 10106; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Y would they need to mod, when they'll get specialized versions n the first place? I know, u wanted a chance to bash the iPhone.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:44 3

8. Googlethis (Posts: 168; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


I think its not a nudge at iPhone as they simply do not understand why they went with somthing locked down over something they can customize to there likeing. With android they can take the phone fix security then hand it out they also can have there tec department work on the phone vs having to let some random guy at the apple store work on a phone that have files on it that arnt ment for public viewing . Unless I am misunderstanding your comment then I apologies

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 04:35 2

4. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


They should tried Windows Phone 8, they will get live info about everything they've subscribed and stay alert.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 08:13

5. Captain_Doug (Posts: 747; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Sad day for RIM. Hopefully they stay around for a bit longer. BB 10 is supposed to bring out some batter hardware/software which was desperately needed for awhile now. Although if they go the way of Palm maybe one day it'll turn open source.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:18

7. kg4icg (Posts: 65; Member since: 18 May 2008)


No FIPs certification, DOD can't purchase it. Why does this keep making news, also the same rumour came up earlier in the year and was ended because of no FIPS and because there isn't 1 single Apple product that can take the riggers of Mil Standard testing.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 17:40

10. Maxwell.R (Posts: 158; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)


The Army is already testing Android devices for field use, providing real-time situational awareness/positioning and means of communicating command and control. If you read the DISA link from FedBizOps.gov, you will see that this is clearly not a rumor. Even if funding for this solicitation were withdrawn, it shows there is a desired framework to build out the infrastructure beyond what is in place with RIM and BES.

FIPS are mainly modified standards established by ANSI, IEEE and ISO. There are standards within FIPS that establish layers of requirements for encryption, but those do not dictate to every piece of hardware.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 22:30

12. kg4icg (Posts: 65; Member since: 18 May 2008)


And not 1 of the android or ios equipment they have tested has passed yet except 1 which was a Dell that was discontinued 1 year before they finally passed it.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 23:41

13. Maxwell.R (Posts: 158; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)


Android earned its FIPS certification in 2010 with v2.2 Froyo, as did iOS.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 11:55

9. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Looks bad for Rim. If they were gonna launch Fall 2012 like originally planned, they would have probably secured a lot of government accounts, but who knows what they'll have left, if any, by the time they launched in early 2013, assuming no more delays.

I admire they want to launch a quality product instead of a rushed one like original Playbook OS or BB7, but it could cost them a lot.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 19:07

11. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6135; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


and i thought the dept of idefense were a bunch of u shps cause i saw one of them with a top secret ipad

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