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back to article Even US generals have realised BlackBerries are uncool

The Pentagon has joined the US Immigration and Customers in shifting away from RIM's BlackBerry as the aging platform becomes so uncool that even civil servants eschew it. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement said last week that it had spent $2.1m on iPhones as the BlackBerry device can't cut it any more, and this week it …

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Silver badge

What is it exactly that the handsets or the servers can't do that iOS and Android can do? The best reason I have heard for one business moving away from RIM was because they had to pay a license for each handset that connected to the server.

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Coat

"What is it exactly that the handsets or the servers can't do that iOS and Android can do? "

In an ideal world nothing, and QNX is actually a particularly good for this modern tablety type stuff. However we don't live in an ideal world. Therefore stuff like Skype and Netflixs, (which are apparently important to the people who buy such things), doesn't work. Also Blackberry seem to be hell bent on fighting internal battles rather than actually seeing what's obvious, (i.e. the whole "It's Canadian" is generally perceived world wide as friendly and honest, as opposed to being evil and corporately corrupt, (US), or just plain weird culturally, (Korean, etc.)). I suspect it's an Anglo Saxon/Frog failing in their outlook which likes to do this self destruction thing. (Sad really).

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well, YMM obviously vary...

But my particular corporate blackberry is unable to deliver voice call quality better than a childs toy walkie-talkie and dismally fails to display internet content in a half-reliable fashion. So it's crap at anything other than email, and even at email the rubbish keyboard makes it less productive than my old black&white one with the side wheel.

Other than the battery life I think any modern android with a physical keyboard would be huge improvement.

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Anonymous Coward

The Generals

Just want to look cool.

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Anonymous Coward

"What is it exactly that the handsets or the servers can't do that iOS and Android can do?"

They can use the internet, in browser form, in an effective manner. The BB browser was horrendous, practically worthless. BES is unnecessary. It was always experiencing syncing issues with Lotus/Exchange. Traveler, Lotus, on Android works directly with the Domino server. No more checking to see if my phone and PC calendars are in sync. iOS and Android have more and better apps..... I actually really liked BB's hardware and their battery life. They just needed some new software.

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This post has been deleted by its author

The browser WAS horrendous, until 2009 when they bought Torch Mobile.

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"They can use the internet, in browser form, in an effective manner. The BB browser was horrendous, practically worthless."

It's a webkit browser these days, just like iSomethings. On the Torch slider phones I find it quite effective. On the small screen + keyboard models I imagine that it's a pain in the area.

"BES is unnecessary."

That depends on your requirements. If you want email to be end to end encrypted it is a good choice. If you are happy for your messages to be read by Google or Apple and potentially lots of other people, then yes you don't need BES.

"It was always experiencing syncing issues with Lotus/Exchange. Traveler, Lotus, on Android works directly with the Domino server."

Can't comment on that, never used it.

"No more checking to see if my phone and PC calendars are in sync."

Sure it was set up properly? Things are pretty good with Exchange / Outlook so far as I can tell.

"iOS and Android have more and better apps....."

There's quite a lot of Android apps turning up on PlayBook's App World. RIM have made the porting job almost trivial. If this a sign of things to come for BB10 hand sets then that is quite promising. But for the moment you are certainly correct.

"I actually really liked BB's hardware and their battery life. They just needed some new software."

I like their battery life too (you have BES/BB push to thank for that), and their email is very good. A stock handset is actually quite good; effective email, Google maps that work, the Web browser on my Torch 9800 is quite effective, Facebook works, the Kindle app is reliable. Where it gets let down presently is that a lot of third party apps are woefully poor. Eg, whilst BA's travel app is good, Lufthansa's has always been dreadful (even before BB became uncool). They do need an injection of new software, and if the PlayBook is anything to go by then BB10 could be good, especially as anything written for Android stands a good chance of turning up on BB phones too.

The screen size is an issue. Everyone else omits the physical keyboard and software and websites on Android / iOS assume that a certain amount of screen space is available. I think the software experience is going to be poor on models without a full sized screen. Fortunately it looks like RIM have worked that out and BB10 models are apparently going to be touchscreen only.

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Anonymous Coward

"The Immigration Department's decision to go with iOS was, in part, motivated by the closed nature of both the hardware and software, which gave them greater confidence in the security of the platform."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ostrich head in the sand approach to security. They don't talk about anything wrong so it must be invulnerable!

Give me strength.

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Anonymous Coward

Only an idiot would deploy Android handsets in a security context given the fast growth in malware.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/android-malware-families-nearly-quadruple-from-2011-to-2012/12171

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Silver badge

I know theres a lot of El Reg readers who worship at the altar of open source and open platforms with a level of evangelism that would make a Mac Boy blush, but I think AC you completely ignore, or misunderstand, whtat the Immigration Departments reasoning was.

When you buy an app through the iOS app store, its been at least cursory tested by Apple to make sure that it isn't going to break the phone. Your handset will still actually function.

Can the ID be 100% confident that the "Buy from any app store you like "approach of Android will result in the same result. They felt the answer was a clear no, and I agree with them.

There's a time and place for both Open, and Closed solutions. My phone works better closed, my PC open.

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The real reason

is because of the shine'y shine'y

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Antitrust

The writing was very obviously on the wall for RIM the day Exchange Activesync was released for Exchange servers. Is there any reason RIM didn't cry Antitrust / anti competative behaviour in this bundling that is forcing them out of the market?

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Re: Antitrust

Probably because Microsoft made the sensible decision to license Activesync widely and not lock out any competitors. RIM was free to become a licencee but didn't and required their own propriety solution instead. They didn't licence their solution and only came up with a free SMB server once the shift away from them was well underway.

If they had announced they were licencing BBM to other manufacturers and systems 12 months ago (think BBM to your facebook buddies) they might have had a viable business model going forward but the value of BBM and its social network is shrinking along with its userbase.

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The Legacy, The Deprivation,The Consequence.

Whether one is a devotee or critic (frequently as rabid as a member of the Tea Party) of the iconic BlackBerry, one has to sympathise with the plight of RIM's new CEO, Thorsten Heins.

The previous incumbents, joint CEO's Lazaridis and Balsillie, were so endowed with hubris that Heins inherited a Research In Motion devoid of initiative, deprived of both product and the ability to achieve. The consequence has been a drought of new devices unparalleled in the communication industry.

The only saving grace was that L&B departed (or in the case of Lazaridis pretended to depart) leaving cash in the Bank. Money buys time. However, no amount of money guarantees success and survival (the slow demise of Microsoft comes to mind, no matter what Steve Balmer may say and ignore).

It is conceivable that BB10 will resuscitate the BlackBerry, principally because of it's appreciation within the emerging nations, where it is valued as a reliable and effective tool in e-commerce; where mobile banking and business transactions are raising thousands (if not millions) from poverty to relative affluence.

The Generals are not unimportant but they represent a society where Apple's superiority at AngryBirds is considered of greater importance than NFC, Mobile Banking and any new instrument that offers a village access to education or medical help.

However, that is the world we live in and RIM has only RIM to blame.

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So - pick the analogy

Blackberry - the new Palm

or

Blackberry - the new Netware

neither offers much cause for optimism.....

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motivated by the closed nature of both the hardware and software

We are switching from AES to this supersecret algorithm

Is it any good?

Well it must be because the makers won't tell us how it works!

Still it must make the staff meetings at Foxcon interesting: Listen up glorious chinese workers, the iPhones we are making this week on this line are all going to be used by the American military

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Re: motivated by the closed nature of both the hardware and software

And the PCs they use aren't?

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Writing on the wall

At work, the writing seemed to be on the wall when our e-mail servers team gave a presentation about their new mobile server. We had two servers in the cluster dedicated to mobile devices: one was free, one wasn't; one supported every mobile device going except BlackBerry, the other one was BB-only. "Pay through the nose for lock-in, or don't pay and support all the options people are actually wanting." Not a hard choice.

On the bright side, for RIM, the BB10 will be compatible with the free everything-else server at last - though of course that'll end a nice little revenue stream they had going until now.

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Trollface

crackberry withdrawl

One wonders if there is or will be a 12 step program for Crackberry Withdrawl.

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Flame

Title should be "Pentagon will continue to use BlackBerry phones" and buy more stuff from RIM

"The U.S. Defense Department last week invited companies to submit bids for software that can monitor, manage and enforce security requirements for devices made by Apple and Google Inc, with an eye to awarding a contract in April."

RIM spokesman Paul Lucier said his company's BlackBerry Mobile Fusion product could also be used to manage Android and Apple devices, and RIM was "excited for the opportunity to include BlackBerry Mobile Fusion in the DOD's portfolio."

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Anonymous Coward

only an idiot would use an iphone(or any phone the public has access to) for military communications. Well now theres even more reason for them to make exploits on the iphone, should be more then 2 a year now.

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Anonymous Coward

Ha ha!

"The Immigration Department's decision to go with iOS was, in part, motivated by the closed nature of both the hardware and software, which gave them greater confidence in the security of the platform."

Closed, right up until the moment one of the staff decides to jail break their hand set. After that all bets are off. After that anything the user has access to is at the mercy of whatever malware ends up on their hand set. After that you could be looking at embarrassment, grave consequences for all concerned and worse.

The US isn't very good at this sort of thing. The whole Bradley Manning / Wikileaks / SIPRNET thing came about because they took a 1 : 4,200,000 chance that their data would remain secure. Not very good odds when you think about it.

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