In justifying the iPhone purchases, ICE said that Apple also has strict control of the iPhone hardware and operating system and gives the agency the greatest degree of control and management to ensure reliable services to users. ICE also ranked RIM lower than Android and Apple devices on commercial viability and called RIM a laggard in the consumer market.
RIM told CNN.com recently that it still has 1 million government customers in North America, and about 400,000 of them upgraded their BlackBerry devices in the past year.
Despite the rejection of BlackBerry by some federal agencies, the platform is still seen as the gold standard in security for mobile devices used by enterprise and government workers, according to many analysts. Stacy Crook, an analyst at IDC, said if RIM can maintain its reputation for security while enhancing the user experience, it will give "BlackBerry 10 the opportunity to be a highly competitive platform in the government, enterprise and consumer sectors."
A RIM spokeswoman said the certification announcement was made primarily to reflect an important milestone for BlackBerry 10 and as an indication that it is on track for release in the first quarter of 2013.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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