The Defense Department has finally started the process of opening its network to iPhone and Android smartphones after relegating service members and contractors to use BlackBerrys, according to a Bloomberg report.
BlackBerrys have gone the way of the cassette tape and the VHS. Washington D.C. is one of the few remaining bastions where people still carry BlackBerrys as Reseach in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, has used their government contracts to stay afloat even as their market share plummets.
The Pentagon is one of the worst offenders. Halls are packed with service members and contractors that carry their BlackBerry in one pocket and their personal smartphone -- either an iPhone or an Android -- in the other. Some even carry two on their belt.
Defense Department officials have started work on securing over 160,000 Apple and Google Andriod mobile systems to include iPhones, iPads and a litany of Android smartphones. Engineers intend to eventually expand that number to over 8 million.
This does not mean service members and contracts would have to stop using BlackBerrys, but they would soon have a choice. If the private market is any indication, government and military individuals will be choosing Apple and Android products in droves.
Army and other service leaders have made their intentions know that they want to expand the use of smartphones even further. Army generals have declared that they want to eventually issue smartphones to every soldier so they can use it for training and combat purposes.
In line with those plans, expanding the choices of what smart phones they can use makes sense, if not over due.