US Customs agency drops BlackBerry in favor of iPhone
The contract valued at $2.1 million is to supply iPhone devices and services to more than 17,600 users
IDG News Service - More than 17,600 users in U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) are being moved from their BlackBerry devices to Apple's iPhone, after it was found that technology from Research In Motion cannot meet the mobile technology needs of the agency, according to contract documents.
The contract for iPhone smartphones and services which was awarded on Sept. 28 was made public last week.
Apple's strict control of the hardware platform and operating system, independent of the telecommunication service provider, provides ICE, the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, with the greatest degree of control and management to ensure reliable services to its mission users, according to the document for justification of the award.
RIM's BlackBerry phones have been favored by law enforcement agencies around the world because of the high-level of security they provided, which makes the ICE decision significant.
ICE relied on RIM's technology for more than eight years as the standard for handheld devices that provide telephone, email, messaging, calendaring and, to a limited extent, mobile applications. The standardization allowed ICE to efficiently maintain operational capabilities, train end-users, and manage security, according to the document.
RIM ranked far lower than Android and Apple devices on commercial viability. RIM and Nokia's Symbian helped to define the smartphone market, but both companies failed to innovate, and consumers have rejected them, according to the document. The net effect is that both firms have been relegated to laggards in the consumer market which has made them too risky for adoption as a "go-to" choice for enterprise use, it added.
Microsoft phones including the Phone 7 were likewise identified as risky because of their limited use in the market. Operating systems such as Linux, Bada, Symbian, Palm, and Windows were eliminated from further evaluation, while RIM's platform was kept for further evaluation because of its status as a legacy product in ICE.
Government organizations globally have relied on the security of BlackBerry technology for over a decade, and it is trusted by some of the most security conscious global organizations and over 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, RIM said in a statement on Tuesday. "We have one million government customers in North America alone who depend on BlackBerry, and more than 400,000 government customers worldwide upgraded their devices in the past year," it added. "We are committed to the mobility needs of government agencies around the world." Google could not be immediately reached for comment.
Devices running the Android operating system were also considered. While Apple and RIM were said to have direct control over the devices that implement their operating systems and have measures to detect and disable attempts to modify the operating system, Google in contrast provides the operating system as open-source across various manufacturers and implementations that can modify elements of the operating system to accommodate new features. " What is a strength for Google, is a risk for ICE," according to the document.
Apple and RIM both received full scores on operating system modification detection, while Android scored one on a scale of zero to five. Android also rated lower on product uniformity and predictability, an area in which Apple's iOS was on top.
This pilot fish is a contractor at a military base, working on some very cool fire-control systems for tanks. But when he spots something obviously wrong during a live-fire test, he can't get the firing-range commander's attention.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Reduce federal infrastructure risk with compliance management and situational awareness
- IBM continuous monitoring and management solutions deliver real-time situational awareness to help federal agencies understand vulnerabilities, and protect the infrastructure.
- Considerations For Effective Software License Management
- For many reasons, software license management has become a critical issue for many IT organizations and enterprise's alike. With many licensing options, hurdles...
- eBay uses 100% OpenSource WSO2 ESB to process more than 1Billion transactions a day
- Along with eBay's success comes a huge demand to ensure reliable, 24x7 availability of the services that enable these transactions. For eBay, that...
- A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things
- The aim of this is to provide Architects and Developers of IoT projects with an effective starting point that covers the major requirements...
- REST easy: API Design, Evolution and Connection
- RESTful design increases API performance, reduces development effort, and minimizes operational support burden. By following a few best practices and selecting RESTful tooling,... All Government IT White Papers
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator...
- The Foundation You Need to Build a Better Storage Infrastructure Watch this webcast to hear how you can maximize the economics of your data center by modifying your storage footprint and power usage...
- Building Tomorrow's Data Center with Converged Technologies A number of forces are converging: the cloud, converged infrastructure, big data and fabric architectures to name a few.
- Technology for Everyone A Kansas school district modernizes teaching and learning and paves the way to a one-to-one program with a comprehensive upgrade of its wireless...
- All Government IT Webcasts