President Barack Obama May Ditch BlackBerry in Favor of Android Smartphone
March 21, 2014 12:24 PM
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Samsung and LG are the chosen hardware makers for testing
The U.S. government was once a huge customer for BlackBerry, but many agencies started using rival devices running operating systems from the likes of Apple and Google -- and now the president may switch as well.
The Wall Street Journal
, the White House is testing Android-powered phones made by Samsung and LG. Apple's iPhone is reportedly not involved in the pilot.
The testing is in early stages, and it's not clear if President Barack Obama will actually switch from his modified BlackBerry. If he did, it would take months for the rollout to happen through the White House.
"We can confirm that the White House Communications Agency, consistent with the rest of the Department of Defense, is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices," said a Defense Department spokesman.
Samsung also verified that it's working with the government, without giving any specific details.
"We have seen strong interest from the government sector and are working closely with various agencies to deploy pilot programs," said a Samsung spokesman.
However, BlackBerry is trying to hold on to its government contract since the Canadian mobile company failed to keep hold of the consumer smartphone market -- which it now only has 0.6 percent of in North America.
"For more than a decade, BlackBerry has been securing the U.S. government's mobile communications and only BlackBerry is designed to meet the high-security needs of U.S. and allied government agencies," said a BlackBerry spokeswoman.
But BlackBerry seems to continue losing government customers. For instance, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ditched their BlackBerrys in May 2012 in favor of iPhones. Immigration and Customs Enforcement followed suit in September, and in October, the Defense Department left its BlackBerrys behind and chose to go with Android and Apple devices instead. Later in November of that year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it was dropping its BlackBerry smartphones for a new fleet of iPhone 5s.
This all happened after
a huge blackout
that occurred in October 2011. For four days, BlackBerry users from around the world completely lost their messaging, browsing and email services. These three features are key to any business (or consumer) user, and proved to be a huge mark on RIM's record. RIM blamed the service troubles on an extremely critical network failure during
a system upgrade
In March 2013, BlackBerry 10 (BB10) -- the company's latest mobile operating system --
failed to pass security requirements
for the UK government.
the FBI said it was looking to dump BlackBerry
for Android-powered Samsung phones.
The situation is made worse with the company's recent financial losses. In
, the company reported a $4.4 billion USD loss and only shipped 1.9 million smartphones.
But BlackBerry CEO John Chen seems to stay in good spirits despite the current situation, cracking jokes about
for the price Facebook paid for WhatsApp, and calling iPhone users
Lets hope that sense of humor can win BlackBerry some customers back -- namely the president.
The Wall Street Journal
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3/24/2014 1:53:43 PM
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