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7/31/2007
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Apple iPhone Out, BlackBerry 8800 In At NASA

The minutes of a meeting of NASA tech officials show that the space agency has determined the iPhone "not to be enterprise ready."

NASA astronauts and other employees won't be using Apple iPhones to surf the Internet or send text messages anytime soon -- at least not while they're on the job.

On the other hand, they could soon have access to spiffy new BlackBerrys.

The space agency has determined the iPhone "not to be enterprise ready," according to the minutes of a July 10 meeting of NASA tech officials obtained by InformationWeek.

According to the minutes, the decision was made by officials within NASA's ODIN program office. ODIN, or Outsourcing Desktop Initiative For NASA, is a program under which NASA is outsourcing computer supply and support to private-sector companies.

The meeting minutes indicate that Jeff Stephens, an ODIN acting project manager who also works for defense contractor Lockheed Martin, broke the news that the iPhone won't fly at NASA. Reached Monday at his office in Washington, D.C., Stephens said only that, "I can't comment on that one way or the other."

Stephens didn't respond to a follow up e-mail. Apple officials didn't return a call Monday seeking comment.

The meeting minutes viewed by InformationWeek didn't indicate why NASA officials believe the iPhone isn't ready for prime time as a business tool. However, analysts at IT research firm Gartner last month issued a research bulletin on the iPhone that outlined a range of concerns.

Among them: lack of support from major device management and mobile security software suites, lack of removable batteries, and Apple's exclusive contract with network provider AT&T.

Still, NASA employees aren't completely out in the cold when it comes to having a hot new PDA. The July 10 meeting minutes indicate that the agency is planning to support the new BlackBerry 8800 from Research In Motion and the Palm Treo 750.

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