Obama's gadgets: What tech does the president use?

Here's a look at some of the devices, platforms and technology US President Barack Obama uses to carry out his day-to-day presidential duties.
Topic: Government
1 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Here's the tech the US President uses

US President Barack Obama has just a few months to go before he leaves office after two terms in the White House.

For President's Day 2016, ZDNet takes an (updated) look back at all the technology that has kept and continues to keep the leader of the free world ticking over -- from his first day in office in 2009 to the present day. From smartphones to computers, tablets and automotive tech, we explore the varied technological tastes (and in some cases, "obligatory tech") from the most tech-savvy head of state to ever sit in the Oval Office.

And, just to make things interesting, we look around the White House to see what else springs up and helps the President carry out his daily duties.

2 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Apple iPad 3 (with Retina display)

On the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, the President keeps his Apple iPad (third-generation) in close range. Obama has been known to dabble across various platforms. He uses Macs and PCs, BlackBerrys and iPads, making him platform "agnostic," like many by not endorsing or using a single platform.

iPads offer enterprise security and back-end policy management by network administrators, allowing (of all people) the President's tablet to keep data secure. Obama's iPad 3 includes a Retina display, but the particular model has since been discontinued. However, even though the iPad and the iPhone have almost identical user interfaces, he was reportedly "befuddled" by a voter's iPhone when he tried to make a phone call with one.

3 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, late-2011)

Obama also uses a 2013 MacBook Pro (15-inch) along with his iPad 3 tablet. He uses his Apple laptop for various things, such as tweeting and answering questions on Reddit. White House photographers have shown him using a variety of devices many times to carry out his presidential duties.

4 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Air Force One: A military communications bunker in the skies

There's no way one can deny Air Force One is the most advanced jumbo-jet in the Western skies. The plane itself is designed to keep the President safe, secure, but also connected to the outside world when he's flying across the US or abroad.

The Boeing 747-200B series aircraft comes with 85 onboard phones, two-way radios, satellite connections to support air-to-ground connections, secure Internet access and close to two-dozen televisions. The 4,000 square-foot aircraft has three levels, including a communications deck, in case the commander-in-chief needs to order a ground attack from the air.

But what happens in case of a nuclear attack? No trouble for the plane, which has as its core security feature the ability to repel electromagnetic pulses, and other countermeasures, such as enemy radar jamming, should the plane need to fly over hostile territories. And just because, "why not," the plane can also shoot out flares that can throw off heat-seeking missiles off course, according to reports.

5 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Dell Latitude E6420 notebook

Despite using a MacBook Pro to carry out an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit and answering questions on the 2012 Fiscal Cliff on Twitter, Obama uses a Dell Latitude E6420 aboard Air Force One to keep in touch with what's happening on the ground. It's a relatively unremarkable Windows-powered laptop, but it's secure for classified work.

6 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

BlackBerry Curve 8300

The President is well known to be a fan of the BlackBerry. So much so, that he has two of them. Identified in this picture aboard Air Force One as two BlackBerry Curve 8300 handsets, while his other is understood to be a BlackBerry Curve 8900.

BlackBerrys are, at least for now, one of the very few mobile devices approved by the US government for low-level classification document sharing, but the iPhone is not far behind. In May, iPhones and iPads were approved by the US Defense Dept. just a week after the federal government cleared the older iOS 6 software for use in government.

7 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

White House Family Theater: 3D technology

Little do many know that the White House has its own mini-family theater where movie screenings can be held by the Obama family and others. Located in the East Wing of the building, the President can be seen talking to members of the administration and civil servants ahead of a "Men in Black 3" screening.

In this photo, you can see 3D screening technology used, which gives an idea of how advanced the petite movie theater is. That said, the room itself is far from IMAX standards, as it is only able to seat around 40 people.

8 of 16 Amanda Lucidon, The White House/Flickr

Obama's motorcade, "The Beast"

The presidential state car is dubbed by members of the press as "The Beast," as it boasts bulletproof windows, a reinforced gas tank, and its very own chauffeur.

Designed by General Motors and built in 2009 in time for Obama's inauguration, the car goes everywhere the President goes. The car is sealed against gas and biochemical attacks, and is even able to run on flat tires should the wheels burst.

Green enthusiasts may not be so pleased to discover the car's fuel efficiency is reportedly just 8 miles per US gallon.

9 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Cisco Unified IP Phone 7965G

On Obama's desk in the Oval Office rests one of the most important tools that he has at his disposal: a phone. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7965G is a secure voice-over-IP phone that connects the leader of the free world to other global leaders and heads of states. It includes a color LCD screen and gigabit Ethernet connectivity for crystal-clear audio quality.

It also features an expansion model that includes customizable speed-dial buttons to reach various people around the White House at a push of a button.

10 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Telecore IST-2 secure phone

A strange looking device, this is one of the most secure phones in the United States. Telecore's IST-2 telephone is approved by the US government for ultra-secure communications that includes multi-cryptographic security. It also features automatic security authentication and a noise-canceling microphone. And, it also includes caller ID feature, just so you know it really is the Israeli Prime Minister on the other end of the phone.

11 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House

Chevrolet Volt

The President can be seen here driving around in his former press secretary's car around the South Lawn Drive of the White House in October 2012.

The Chevrolet Volt electric car, among many features, includes a customizable display that can show details about the vehicle, satellite navigation, and the radio station he's currently listening to. It also connects via Bluetooth with a range of smartphones and can be used with an iPhone app to remotely verify that the car is plugged in to charge, and can let Obama lock or unlock, or remotely start your Volt from anywhere.

12 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

HP Elitebook 6930p notebook

The White House Situation Room is in fact made up of a number of large and small conference rooms. During the Navy SEAL operation to kill Osama bin Laden, the President along with other prominent members of the Cabinet and armed forces collected in a smaller room to monitor the situation, as you can see here.

The laptops used in this picture are HP Elitebook 6930p notebooks, designed for enterprise and government use. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and boasting up to 8 hours of battery life, this model is far from pretty but it's certainly tough, rugged and powerful enough to run an operation that led to the demise of the world's most wanted terrorist.

13 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

AMX Modero (7-inch) Tabletop Touch Panel

The White House Situation Room has seen some of the world's most daring crises in real-time. From terrorist attacks to emergency readiness, this high-profile room requires some of the best technology to keep running.

Sitting in front of the president's chair is an AMX NXT-CA7 Tabletop Touch Panel, which gives Obama a heads-up display of important information. It's a small device that nevertheless holds an important task.

14 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

AMX Modero (12-inch) Modero Video Wall Touch Panel

Also in the Situation Room, more AMX technology is put to use. In between the video conferencing equipment and the multi-view projector-powered wall screen, a series of AMX NXD-1200V 12" Modero Video Wall Touch Panels sit in various places around the room, keeping White House staff and security personnel in the room clear on the security classification of the discussions, as well as when microphones are switched on. These wall displays are touch-enabled, and can also be used to control the room environment, such as lighting and temperature.

15 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

Polycom SoundStation 2 conference phone

The President can communicate hands-free on a conference call with other members of the Cabinet, Congress, and other department heads around the country -- and the world -- by using the Polycom SoundStation2. It uses high-quality microphones that can pick up voices up to 10-feet away, which is ideal for the Oval Office or the Situation Room, and includes an LCD display for caller ID and other caller information.

16 of 16 Pete Souza, The White House/Flickr

BeamPro video conferencing robot

BeamPro has made its name for delivering video-as-a-robot. This so-called video-bot helped Obama talk to Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project Founder, who was unable to attend a photo shoot in person. The user can control the robot and move around, interacting with people as though they are there in person.

Related Galleries

The world's most famous and dangerous APT (state-developed) malware
Top APT malware strains

Related Galleries

The world's most famous and dangerous APT (state-developed) malware

The FBI's most wanted cybercriminals
FBI Most Wanted

Related Galleries

The FBI's most wanted cybercriminals

These are 2018's biggest hacks, leaks, and data breaches

Related Galleries

These are 2018's biggest hacks, leaks, and data breaches

North Korea's history of bold cyber attacks

Related Galleries

North Korea's history of bold cyber attacks

These were 2017's biggest hacks, leaks, and data breaches

Related Galleries

These were 2017's biggest hacks, leaks, and data breaches

These were the biggest hacks, leaks and data breaches of 2016

Related Galleries

These were the biggest hacks, leaks and data breaches of 2016

The most epically bad tech product launches of all time

Related Galleries

The most epically bad tech product launches of all time