More support for Apple, Google at Pentagon could spell problems for BlackBerry

Summary:Once ruling supreme, BlackBerry now has to seriously compete against the two largest smartphone providers in the world within the Pentagon.

The Pentagon is working on opening up its digital networks to more smartphones and tablets made by Apple and Google as soon as next year.

The U.S. Department of Defense issued a statement on Tuesday affirming it will be permitting more access to thousands more devices running iOS and Android.

Defense Department chief information officer Teri Takai explained in the announcement that the revised strategy is in alignment with the bureau's increased reliance on mobile for "as a key capability enabler for joint force combat operations, the application of mobile technology into global operations, integration of secure and non-secure communications, and development of portable, cloud-enabled capability will dramatically increase the number of people able to collaborate and share information rapidly."

She continued:

The DoD Mobile Device Strategy and Implementation Plan aim to align the various mobile devices, pilots and initiatives across the department under common objectives to ensure the warfighter benefits from these activities and aligns with efforts in the Joint Information Environment. This is not simply about embracing the newest technology -- it is about keeping the department’s workforce relevant in an era when information accessibility and cybersecurity play a critical role in mission success.

But aside from some potential security and technical support concerns that come with any shift in IT policy, this is also likely to spell out some big problems for at least one party: BlackBerry.

Up until now, the beleaguered Canadian phone maker's stronghold has arguably been government and military customers given its good reputation for mobile security.

Bloomberg cited that the U.S. military headquarters in Arlington, Va. has more than 600,000 mobile devices in circulation -- of which 470,000 them run on BlackBerry OS while iOS accounts for 41,000 devices and Android covers approximately 8,700.

But now that iOS and Android handhelds are catching up (and very popular with consumers and business users alike), maybe it shouldn't come as much of a shock that the governmental agency is looking in a new direction -- even with the pending release of BlackBerry 10 .

Topics: Government, Apple, BlackBerry, Bring Your Own Device, Samsung, Security

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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