While half the technologically-savvy world has moved on to the greener pastures of Android and iOS, the Pentagon's forces still rely on BlackBerry handsets. And if the Canadian smartphone manufacturer goes under, BlackBerry's decline could become an unlikely issue of US national security.
The United States government has long favoured BlackBerry handsets, with 470,000 devices still in use across the states by government officials. The Department of Defense worked alongside BlackBerry developers to ensure that the handsets and their associated software was secure enough for high-level secret service usage. There were even plans in place to buy tens of thousands of BB10 handsets, a deal which now seems to have been set aside. With so much invested in BlackBerry technology, and the company's recent failings leaving it on incredibly shaky ground, the Pentagon now is understandably concerned, and is putting together a contingency plan should BlackBerry cease to be altogether.
As a result, Android and Apple handsets will begin to make their way into government official's hands (though they currently lack the "authority to operate" on the Defence Department's networks). Learning from the mistake of relying too heavily on one manufacturer, the contingency plan will see the Pentagon favour a "multi-vendor, device-agnostic approach" that "minimizes the impact of [a] single vendor to our current operations," according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart. If all goes well, there should be 300,000 non-BlackBerry devices in use in government departments by 2016. [Defense One via Ars Technica via Slash Gear]