Research in Motion (RIM) was once the top-dog in the mobile device market place for providing smartphones to government agencies (clearly lucrative contracts). The key reason for RIM’s success in this field was the security of its data. With the amount of sensitive data handles by such agencies, security and data encryption is vital.
Recently, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) said it was turning its back on the BlackBerry from RIM and was planning to supply iPhones to its workforce. There were a number of reasons cited for this change of direction including iOS. With ICE needing to purchase a well in excess of seventeen thousand devices, this was a blow to RIM. With the impending launch of the BlackBerry 10 device however, it looks like this may change again.
At the start of next year, ICE want to test the new smartphone to see it fits their purpose. The tests will also consider whether it can meet the stringent requirements the agency has for data security. RIM have stated that ICE is the first government department to try out the new device for size. RIM’s Scott Totzke has been quoted as stating “ICE has been a valued BlackBerry customer for years and our commitment to government agencies has influenced the development of the BlackBerry 10 platform. We look forward to sharing more features of the BlackBerry 10 platform at our global event launch event on January 30”.
It’s still not clear whether that means that Apple are out of the race for this contract. The ICE press secretary managed to sit quite squarely on the fence when asked about this, basically saying that the agency is not moving away from either RIM or iOS, simply that the trial of the BlackBerry 10 device is “prudent technology practice”.