The United States Department of Defense has announced its “Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan,” an initiative that will open up the DoD’s communications networks to a wider range of iOS and Android smartphones and tablets by next February.
As its name would suggest, the plan allows the DoD’s employees to use more consumer-focused mobile devices in the workplace, even on its classified network, while also reducing overall costs and encouraging the development of its own mobile app storefront. According to AppleInsider, the Department also plans on putting together “wireless voice, video and data capabilities” by this October.
While the news should be welcome to Apple and Google, it may come at the expense of the DoD’s current brand of choice: BlackBerry. Out of the DoD’s roughly 600,000 mobile device users, some 470,000 are presently using BlackBerry, much more than either iOS or Android.
That number of BlackBerry users stands to drop with the new initiative, but the DoD says that it still plans on using the OS going forward, just as part of more “platform-agnostic,” multi-vendor approach. The Department says that it still has interest in the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS, but that iOS and Android’s continued improvements – with regard to security in particular – have enticed it into adopting the platforms.
Interesting to note in all of this, though, is that the DoD is not calling this plan a complete shift over to the growing BYOD trend. The DoD says that it has the technological capabilities to achieve that sort of work environment, and that it hopes to get there in the future, but that this initiative is more of an opening up of its current system.