In a sign of the times, the U.S. Department of Defense has announced plans to move beyond BlackBerry as its primary mobile device platform to a more “platform agnostic” policy that is more open to Android and iOS devices.
A DoD rep told AppleInsider that this does not mean a full abandonment of BlackBerry's platform, but it does mean Apple and any number of Android device makers can sell more broadly to the Defense Department.
"The key takeaway is that it's a multi-vendor solution. We will have a DoD-wide device management system and a DoD-wide app storefront,” Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, told AppleInsider.
BlackBerry is currently the DoD standard though it is not the only device deployed. Of the 600,000+ mobile devices in use in both standard operations and pilot programs, roughly 470,000 are BlackBerry devices, about 41,000 iOS devices, and around 80,000 devices run Android.
Pickart said the expansion is not part of a broader plan to establish a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) standard at the Department, at least not for now.
"It's not BYOD; it is the department migrating to a multi-vendor environment that is going to include more than BlackBerry currently," he said. "BYOD is a long-term objective, but we're just not there yet. The technology is there, but things like security, we're not quite there yet."
The DoD said it will open its networks to smartphones and tablets from Apple and Android device manufacturers beginning in February of 2014.
Tablet deployment issues, management strategies and BYOD will be among the key topics discussed at the upcoming Tablet Strategy conference in New York, April 30.