We heard back in October that the Pentagon was going to be opening up its mobile device network to iOS and Android, on top of BlackBerry. Details were a bit scarce at that point in time, but today the US Department of Defense has announced their plans for the new program, and it’s expected to get under way earlier next year.
By February of 2014, the Pentagon plans to roll out 100,000 iOS and Android devices to its employees. The Pentagon says it wants its employees to have the flexibility to use products other than BlackBerry on classified and unclassified networks. The Pentagon plans to create its own app store and build a system that will be able to handle up to eight million devices.
BlackBerry has long been the preferred mobile device for the US Department of Defense due to its security prowess and clearance to run on the Pentagon’s network. However, it looks like iOS and Android are catching up on that front, and BlackBerry will now have some competition in a market where its felt secure for many years so far.
The Pentagon currently has over 600,000 mobile devices that use its network, with 470,000 of them being BlackBerry devices, 41,000 being iDevices, and 8,700 of them running Android. Last year the Air Force was awarded a $9.36 million contract to buy up to 18,000 iPads to replace the huge stack of paper manuals and charts carried by pilots.
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