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Washington Post says Feds are replacing BlackBerry with Apple and Android devices

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Washington Post says Feds are replacing BlackBerry with Apple and Android devices
Say what you want about President Barrack Obama, but we can all come to the agreement that he is the first president to truly embrace cellular technology. The president is known to carry around his trusty BlackBerry wherever he goes, although he recently joked about the White House needing cooler phones.

A story in Monday's Washington Post says that the administration is moving ahead rapidly to make major changes in technology. Author Michael S. Rosewald writes that today's government updates tech faster than at a Little House on the Prairie pace. He notes that even a huge BlackBerry fan like the President now owns an Apple iPad.

The federal government has been trading in its BlackBerry phones and replacing them with the Apple iPhone according to the Post story, and government workers are replacing boring strait laced tech items with flashy consumer products. Not only does this make for more productive government workers, it also allows the Feds to save money. For example, the GSA is currently moving 17,000 workers to Gmail which will save the government 50% over the next 5 years of running its own servers and updating software. The USDA will save $6 million by moving employees to Gmail.

The U.S. government had been using BlackBerry handsets because of the latter's secure email platform. But when it comes to third party software, Apple and Android offer many more choices than RIM. According to the Washington Post story, agency directors and senior officials are using Android handsets, Apple iPads and cloud based email services at home and are asking IT administrators why can't they use these same products at work. The use of these technologies in government workers personal life means that they have more access to information at home than at the office. Vivek Kundra, the federal government’s chief information officer quipped that, "If you look at the average school kid, he or she probably has better technology in his or her backpack than most of us do in government offices." He adds that when it comes to technology, the line between home and work is beginning to blur and that most workers despise corporate provided technology.

As the government's CIO, Kundra carries a BlackBerry for work and an Apple iPhone for personal use, although he wants to be a "one-device guy". That led to his idea to allow government workers to pick their own cell phone and/or tablet, use strict security settings and have the government pay for some of the cost of using the device. Currently, the ATF has 50 Apple iPhones or iPads in use and that number is expected to double soon. At the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the number of BlackBerry phones being used by employees dropped from 1,000 to 700 as workers are now allowed to pick their own device. The Department of Veterans Affairs is about to allow its clinicians to pick an Apple iPhone or iPad instead of a BlackBerry. As you might expect, RIM's market share has been declining from 21% of the U.S. smartphone market in 2009 to 14% last year.

source: WashingtonPost via AppleInsider

President Obama carries an Apple iPad under his arm (L), while ATF chief Vanderplow connects an iPad to a television monitor
President Obama carries an Apple iPad under his arm (L), while ATF chief Vanderplow connects an iPad to a television monitor

President Obama carries an Apple iPad under his arm (L), while ATF chief Vanderplow connects an iPad to a television monitor






16 Comments
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posted on 31 May 2011, 15:00

1. Fanboys Suck (Posts: 609; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


That's a secure idea.....

posted on 31 May 2011, 15:29

2. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


believe it o not it actually may be. with cloud services that need little to run and can be as secure as BB regardless of what phone they are used in and adding many other feature both android and IOS keep adding to their system and email clients getting more and more secure, things might be better to handle from the cloud

posted on 31 May 2011, 17:11 2

6. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its no more secure/insecure to throw data to the cloud thats encrypted than it is to send to RIM servers encrypted then to another phone. As long as they can keep high encryption it keeps the chances of an email being read by the wrong person extremely low.

Could the government getting off RIM servers be the last major nail in RIM's coffin? RIM has had a lockdown on government and high security since they opened their doors.

posted on 31 May 2011, 19:55

11. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


The iTunes (Music) Store started in April 28, 2003. Apple has a lot of experience with dealing with hackers. I am not saying the iTunes can't be hacked, just that Apple knows a lot is at stake since it has the largest depository of consumer credit card information of any retail company. That is 8+ years of experience to Apples credit.

posted on 31 May 2011, 15:55

3. Darko Millionosovich (unregistered)


Blackberry is the equivalent of that farmer who had all his limbs torn off a few years ago by a combine.

Can't do much now...but still a farmer. A farmer condemned to a wheelchair.

No good.

posted on 31 May 2011, 16:55

4. CTAPEEM (unregistered)


This makes no sense. As we speak, the "cloud" is being discussed as a major security risk. On the other side - RIM had to negotiate on a government level the option to let the saudi officials see what's going through the network, as the encryption of the BB network is quite good... Blackberries came to dominate the business world for a reason. I guess the average clerk is pissed that the blackberries aren't as good to watch movies on them, during those all day/every day boring meetings.
The only good thing is that the government will save some small amount of money and will have someone else to blame, when there is system crash/data breach.

posted on 31 May 2011, 17:06 1

5. Sniggly (Posts: 6817; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


*shrug* the government can use whatever tech it wants. It's still useless.

posted on 31 May 2011, 22:24

13. timshady337 (Posts: 45; Member since: 19 Nov 2009)


useless and expensive, but hey it's not like it's thier money.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 00:00 1

14. Lucas777 (Posts: 2121; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


why is it useless? do u even live in the usa...

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 03:15

16. Sniggly (Posts: 6817; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Uh, yes. And the government is pretty goddamned useless. Anything it ever did to help anyone could've been done better with private enterprise. And much of the time governmental "help" only ends up helping the government and no one else.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 22:43 1

19. Lucas777 (Posts: 2121; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


okay so what if there was no government... wud we have law? no... we wud be a corrupt lawless society... and no, private enerprise shud control the economy, but in no way shud they run out legal system... and a legal system is the fundemental part of the government..

posted on 31 May 2011, 17:28 3

7. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


This isnt news except for Android. I been reading the about the iPhone showing up more in corporate America replacing Blackberries. Seems the iPhone does Desktop Active Sync as good as a Win Mo and Blackberry. Thats one thing Android doesnt do well.

posted on 31 May 2011, 18:01 1

8. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5617; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


It is only a matter of time now before RIM joins Palm as one of the leaders of the smartphone world that lost their way. I wonder if HP will be acquiring RIM like they did Palm?

posted on 31 May 2011, 19:48 1

10. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


When you have gov't employees asking for iPhones rather than their tried and true Blackberries, you know it's going to get ugly at RIM. When one of the most loyal customer base says adois to your product, maybe it's time for RIM to enter a crisis mode and jump start their business or face marginalization.

posted on 01 Jun 2011, 00:50 1

15. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5617; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


2 years at the latest, and RIM will be merged with someone else. Will it be HP? MS? Or?

posted on 03 Jun 2011, 10:03

20. Mark (unregistered)


Trade in security for apps!!!!!!!!! The US Government has to be crazy! Smells like apple's behind this article to me!

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