Embattled smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM) has suffered yet another blow, with the United States Department of Defense announcing that it will allow Apple and Android devices on its secure networks.
According to SlashGear, while the Pentagon will not initially shut off its BlackBerry servers, it will hire a contractor that will provide secure communications across 160,000 Android and Apple devices initially, which it plans to expand to 8 million devices in the future.
While BlackBerry was once the dominant smartphone platform for secure government agency communications in the US, the platform has been abandoned by numerous US Federal Government departments over the past year, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In better news for RIM, the Canadian smartphone maker has begun carrier testing of its next generation BlackBerry 10 platform with more than 50 carriers. It is believed the company is currently testing two smartphones based on the platform: One with a traditional BlackBerry layout, and one with an iPhone-style touchscreen.
The company is also believed to be working on a high-end smartphone, codenamed Aristo, which it intends to position against Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S3 as a flagship smartphone.