On October 22, we reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs agency had ditched BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone, stating that RIM’s platform was inadequate for its needs. This came as a bit of a blindside, considering that BlackBerrys have been a staple of government agencies in the United States for years. Now RIM has announced that ICE will be one of the first government agencies to test out its BlackBerry 10 smartphones in early 2013.
This testing phase doesn’t mean that ICE is ditching the iPhone, and RIM is shelling out the money for this so called pilot project. Says ICE’s press secretary Barbara Gonzalex, “We’re not backing away from iOS, nor RIM. We’ve had a long and good relationship with RIM.” Unlike some of the other government agencies that have completely dropped RIM, ICE will use both BlackBerrys and iPhones.
ICE plans to drop a cool $2.1 million on nearly 18,000 iPhones, according to a document released in October. BlackBerry suffered heavily this year in terms of both market share and getting kicked to the curb by agencies that have long utilized its phones. BlackBerry 10 is RIM’s potential salvation, although whether it can ever regain the ground it has lost is up for debate.
Back in October, ICE made this statement: “[The iPhone will be used by a] variety of agency personnel, including, but not limited to, Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations, and Office of the Principal Legal Advisor employees. The iPhone services will allow these individuals to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency’s mission.”