BlackBerry has been the preferred handheld for many of the U.S. Department of Defence’s employees because it’s got the security clearance to run on the Pentagon’s network. That might all change in 2014 though when Android and iOS join the party.
The U.S. Defense Department said today that it plans to open up its networks by February 2014 and allow 100,000 mobile phones and tablets from Apple and Google to use the network.
In a report form Bloomberg, the Pentagon says it wants employees to have the flexibility to use commercial products on classified and unclassified networks. To accomodate the new devices, the Pentagon plans to create a military mobile applications store and build a system that can eventually handle as many as 8 million devices.
The Pentagon has more than 600,000 mobile devices that use its network, but 470,000 of those are BlackBerrys, while 41,000 are Apple products, and only 8,700 run on Android.
Allowing more Android and iOS devices on the Defense Department’s networks could cause more trouble for BlackBerry. Shares for BlackBerry fell 4.2 percent to $12.70 after the Pentagon’s announcement.
When the Pentagon opens up its network next year, it will allow employees to bring in their own devices to use on the networks. Until that time, the networks will remain closed to personal wireless devices.