Update: Pentagon set to dump BlackBerry and order 650,000 iOS devices

by Doug Drinkwater

March 21 2013

Over half the 650,000 deployed iOS devices will be used out in the field, according to a new report
Over half the 650,000 deployed iOS devices will be used out in the field, according to a new report

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) doesn’t do things in small measures and that’s certainly the case when it comes to business mobility following reports that the Pentagon apparently is set to drop BlackBerry and order as many as 650,000 iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Citing “well-placed sources” inside the department’s mobile device testing program, Electronista reports the Pentagon is set to place an order for 650,000 iOS devices. The device breakout is as follows: 210,000 iPhones, 200,000 iPods, 120,000 iPads and 100,000 iPad minis.

These devices will replace the department’s 470,000 BlackBerry handsets that are currently being used, with “more than half are headed to the battlefield, afloat, and to associated support commands”. The rest will remain in Pentagon offices.

Should this news turn out to be true, it would not be a huge surprise, not least because previous reports indicated the Pentagon has been considering iOS and Android to replace its collection of BlackBerry devices.

And while this report strengthens the claims that iOS (and the iPad in particular) is ruling in the business world, it also highlights BlackBerry’s fall from grace in the same area.

The company, recently renamed from Research in Motion, had at one stage been the primary device in enterprise but a series of setbacks – including the departure of senior executives and some cash flow problems – saw the Canadian handset maker fall quickly out if favor.

That said, the company has been making greater strides of late under new CEO Thorsten Heins. The government of Germany has agreed to deploy 5,000 Z10 smartphones running BlackBerry 10, while there has been speculation on another order for as many as one million devices.

Update: Pentagon and BlackBerry have since claimed that the report is erroneous, and that the U.S. Department of Defense will continue to support BlackBerry devices.

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