Pentagon may soon clear use of Apple, Samsung, BlackBerry devices

Wed May 1, 2013 7:26pm EDT
 
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* Decision would clear use of devices on defense networks

* Move will intensify struggle for Pentagon customers

* Department has some 600,000 users of smart phones, tablets

By David Alexander

WASHINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) - The Pentagon is expected to clear Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry mobile devices for use on Defense Department networks in the next few weeks, part of an effort to ensure the military has access to the latest communications technology, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The decision will set the stage for an intensified struggle for Pentagon customers among BlackBerry devices, Apple's iPhones or iPads and units using Google's Android platform such as Samsung Electronics' phones. The Pentagon currently has some 600,000 users of smart phones, computer tablets and other mobile devices.

The Pentagon unveiled a plan in February aimed at giving the military services a much broader range of choices among mobile devices. The department currently has 470,000 BlackBerry users, 41,000 Apple users and 8,700 people with Android devices. Most Apple and Android systems are in pilot or test programs.

"We are working towards establishing a multi-vendor environment that supports a variety of devices and operating systems, to include Samsung, Apple and BlackBerry," said Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart, a Pentagon spokesman.

"A key objective of the plan is to establish a department-wide mobile enterprise solution that permits the use of the latest commercial technology such, as smart phones and tablets," he added.   Continued...