The White House is apparently looking to dump BlackBerry for Android smartphones, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. The article suggests that the government IT experts are currently playing with different Samsung and LG models, though no timeline was given when the switch will be made. Or not.
A Department of Defense spokesman said the White House “is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices.”
This, of course, doesn’t mean President Obama will ever have to leave his beloved BlackBerry; it’s just that some of his staff prefer to use different devices and may want to explore options how to achieve that.
Naturally, IT specialists want to make sure the security can’t be breached that easily and will likely want to customize any Android build into something Russian and Chinese hackers can’t break into. I’m not sure we’ll hear anything official on this, but we’ll be monitoring BlackBerry’s sales figures as an indication…
UPDATE: President is not involved in any pilot program for testing non-BlackBerry phones. Read this Washington Post article.
And here’s BlackBerry’s statement on the matter:
We value the long-term relationship we’ve had with the White House and have been securing their mobile communications for more than a decade. The U.S. government requires the highest levels of security. We were the first mobility platform to receive the ‘Authority to Operate’ certification from the Department of Defense.
Governments test new technologies frequently, but nevertheless the U.S. government continues to choose BlackBerry for its unmatched security and cost effectiveness. Other vendors such as Samsung and LG still have a long way to go to catch up to meet the government’s stringent requirements and certifications. BlackBerry’s operating system has already received the highest security approvals from the United States, Great Britain and NATO, and our latest operating system, BlackBerry 10, is already certified for high-security users in various NATO countries.