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Pentagon to Move From BlackBerry to Android, iPhones

RIM has been dealt a further blow with the news of the Pentagon due to move up of to 8 million employees from its BlackBerry devices to Android-powered smartphones and Apple's iPhone.

The Defense Department is planning to hire a contractor to build a system that will both manage and secure at least 162,500 Android devices, in addition to Apple products including the iPhone and iPad. It's possible that the system may be expanded to handle 8 million devices, the department confirmed.

The project is “a significant step towards delivering a secure mobile communications capability’’ to the agency, it said. The Pentagon wishes to gives employees the opportunity to access its network through a broader range of mobile devices so it can “take advantage of the increasing wireless capabilities that exist and that are developing in the marketplace."

The Pentagon’s Defense Information Systems Agency will grant the contract to a single company by April, with bids due by November 27.

Although the Defense Department is not instructing contractors to propose systems that can manage RIM devices, it “desires” a system that can also handle BlackBerry smartphones, in addition to Android and iOS devices.

Last week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it will end the contract it holds with RIM, subsequently leading to 17,600 employees moving away from BlackBerry devices to the iPhone. Preceding that was consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton dropping BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone and Android smartphones for about 25,000 employees.

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