BlackBerry, Samsung Get Pentagon Nod Of Approval

Department of Defense approves use of BlackBerry and Samsung devices by military and government workers, a big win for the two companies.
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Takes A Bow
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Takes A Bow
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The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has approved the use of new BlackBerrys and Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets by government workers and military officials. The approval is a big deal for both companies, which want to pitch their gear to the government.

BlackBerry said that the Z10, Q10 and the PlayBook all have been approved for government use. BlackBerry hardware can be used by DOD employees and on DOD networks. The Z10 and Q10 both run BlackBerry's new operating system, called BlackBerry 10.

"BlackBerry 10 is ideal for our government customers because it offers a rich, highly responsive mobile computing experience, along with BlackBerry's proven and validated security model -- a combination that's unmatched in the industry," said Scott Totzke, senior VP of BlackBerry security at BlackBerry. The Z10 is already available for sale from U.S. carriers, but the Q10 won't be available until the end of May.

[ Is BlackBerry pinning all its hopes on smartphones? Read BlackBerry CEO: Tablets Have No Future. ]

BlackBerry has long worked with the U.S. government. This approval was expected, although it took longer to achieve than perhaps BlackBerry would have preferred. BlackBerry 10 sandboxes personal and enterprise data on BlackBerry smartphones and tablets. Through BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 10, businesses can hook into that contained enterprise data to control when and how it is accessed -- all while leaving the personal data alone. The appealing part for businesses is that BES 10 also can be used to manage other devices, such as the iPhone or Android smartphones.

Apple has done a good job of scoring wins with businesses that used to rely on BlackBerrys. But the iPhone has yet to win DOD approval, although a government spokesperson said approval is on the way.

As for Samsung, the government gave the thumbs up to its new Knox security software. Knox is an enterprise-focused tool that can be used on smartphones and tablets to secure sensitive information and make it inaccessible if need be. It does the same type of thing that BlackBerry 10 does with respect to personal and enterprise data.

Samsung is the world's biggest maker of cellphones and smartphones, many of which run Google's Android operating system. The company has traditionally been weak with enterprise and government sales. Knox is part of Samsung's strategy to help change that, so this is a major victory for the company.

"This approval enables other government agencies and regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services to adopt Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets," said Samsung president JK Shin. "This is a significant milestone for Samsung as we work to grow our relationships within government and large corporate enterprises."

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