BlackBerry 10 Approved for US Military Use

The US Defense Department has approved the BlackBerry 10 smartphones and the PlayBook tablet for use on its networks.

Samsung devices running Google’s Android operating system have also been approved, according to a statement from the Pentagon. Apple’s iOS platform has not yet been cleared, but is expected to be approved soon.

“This is a significant step toward establishing a multi- vendor environment that supports a variety of state-of-the-art devices and operating systems,” Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart, a Pentagon spokesman, said in the statement.

BlackBerry has historically been the only smartphone used by US military. The Canadian company’s new platform, BB10, “offers a rich, highly responsive mobile computing experience, along with BlackBerry’s proven and validated security model,” according to senior vice president of security, Scott Totzke.

The Pentagon currently has 600,000 users of smartphones and tablets. Up until now, only BlackBerry smartphones were deemed adequately secure for usage. But the Pentagon says it wants to establish a “multi-vendor environment.” This could mean hundreds of thousands of legacy BlackBerrys will be replaced by Apple and Google devices.

Other major organizations have dealt similar blows to BlackBerry in the past year. Home Depot in February announced it was replacing nearly 10,000 BlackBerrys with iPhones.

However, with the launch of BlackBerry 10, some companies have renewed faith in the Waterloo-based smartphone pioneer. Canadian Tire Corporation announced earlier this month that it selected BlackBerry as the official smartphone for its corporate team across Canada, meaning employees across its family of companies—including Mark’s, Sport Chek, and Atmosphere—will use BlackBerry 10 smartphones as their primary business device. It’s deploying “several thousand units in the coming months,” comprised of a mix of Z10s and Q10s.