Pentagon to drop BlackBerry for iPhone and iPad [UPDATED]
Electronista is reporting that the mobile device testing program currently underway at the Department of Defense has produced a pending purchase order for Apple hardware. Following completion of the first phases of the project, the Department of Defense will be ordering just over 650,000 iOS devices from Apple following conclusion of the sequester.
While the testing program is still underway, sources familiar with the matter have said that “some of the needs can’t wait” and as soon as the sequester was over, the order would be placed.
Apparently the breakdown is 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod touches, and the remaining 210,000 filled by various iPhones. Specific models were not shared, and would likely be specified at the time of the cessation of sequester spending restrictions. Ultimate destinations for the hardware varies, with Electronista being told that “more than half are headed to the battlefield, afloat, and to associated support commands. Most of the rest will stay [at the Pentagon].”
Another source familiar with the situation has stated that the iOS devices were intended to replace nearly all the older BlackBerry devices incompatible with the new BlackBerry 10 software release.
Statistics gathered from devices deployed by the DoD show 470,000 BlackBerry devices in daily use, none of which use the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Testing of the new operating system has been gravely impacted by the sequester, and the outright elimination of funds earmarked for the BlackBerry 10 platform may never be restored.
Since all of those BlackBerry devices would have to be replaced anyway — there’s no backwards compatibility with BlackBerry 10 — it seems the top brass may have decided to cut its losses and move to the oldest, most-tested mobile platform currently available.