BlackBerry 7 smartphones approved for DOD use

Launched in January, newer RIM phones offer Department of Defense personnel access to NFC and other features

By , Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT, BlackBerry, Department of Defense

Analysts and IT managers often praise RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server and tradition of strong smartphone security, but have also been critical of the company for its inability to keep up with consumer demands for a smartphone touchscreen and Web browser that can compete with the more popular iPhone and Android smartphones.

An October 2011 near-global outage of important BlackBerry network applications also cost RIM some government and enterprise customers, analysts and customers have said.

The DoD certification of the new RIM smartphones "won't really affect BlackBerry's perceived uncoolness for end users, compared to the iPhone and Android," Gold said. "But it certainly will be reassuring for IT types."

On Tuesday, RIM announced the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer, former Sony Mobile Communications executive Kristian Tear, and a new Chief Marketing Officer, former LightSquared official Frank Boulben.

Boulben, who fills a CMO post that's been vacant for more than a year, is charged with shoring up RIM's consumer image.

Heins unveiled the important BlackBerry 10 platform on May 1, but didn't say when the smartphones that run it will ship. An early fall launch is considered crucial for RIM's future.

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 e-mail address is

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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