Pentagon defends the BlackBerry

U.S. Department of Defense likes the beleaguered smartphone because it's secure. Will order a boatload of them.

It hasn't been a good couple of years for BlackBerry, the pioneering Canadian smartphone group that has lost its lead, luster and mojo to competitors like Apple and Samsung.

But now the Pentagon has come to its defense, with plans to buy as many as 80,000 of the company's handheld devices.

The U.S. Department of Defense is about to roll out a fancy new wireless network, and the primary device it wants to use on it are BlackBerry handsets. The Pentagon plans to purchase upwards of 80,000 BlackBerrys, helping send the company’s stock sky high—it’s close to $11 a share right now, up from $5.75 six weeks ago.

Why did DOD go with the BlackBerry as opposed to, say, an Apple iPhone? Bloomberg explained:

The Defense Department isn’t picking BlackBerry just to be contrarian; concerns about data security remain at least as high as ever, and BlackBerry is further along than such competitors as Samsung (005930:KS) and Apple (AAPL) when it comes to matching the requirements set by the Pentagon.

The article states that the contract helps validate the strategy of new CEO John Chen, who wants to return the company - formerly called Research In Motion - to its roots as a vendor to corporations and other large organizations.

I like this development, maybe because I like BlackBerries. I also don't yet accept that BlackBerries are a consumer flop. Anecdotally, they're popular with all ages where I live in the U.K.

I remain a user myself. I like the tactile keyboard. And I'll give you another reason to buy one: You can get them for about a quarter of the price of one of those money suckers called an iPhone.  At least until Chen engineers a comeback, when BlackBerry could once again command a higher retail tag.

Cover photo is from M. Rehemtulla via Wikimedia

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