US agency gives BlackBerry a second chance

Dec 13, 2012
Research in Motion (RIM) CEO Thorsten Heins speaks during the BlackBerry Jam 2012 conference in San Jose, California, on September 25, 2012. A US government agency will give Research in Motion's new smartphone a second look after announcing last month it was dumping the BlackBerry and supplying its workforce with iPhones instead.

A US government agency will give Research in Motion's new smartphone a second look after announcing last month it was dumping the BlackBerry and supplying its workforce with iPhones instead.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM said in a statement the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency would test-run the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones in early 2013.

The agency "has been a valued BlackBerry customer for years, and our commitment to government agencies has influenced the development of the BlackBerry 10 platform," RIM senior vice president Scott Totzke said in a statement.

"Along with providing workers with secure access to behind-the-firewall confidential information, BlackBerry 10 can help organizations fully leverage the potential of mobile technology to offer new services, improve service delivery and increase organizational productivity."

RIM has been traditionally dominant in US government agencies largely due to its enhanced security, but has been losing ground to Apple and to smartphones using the -backed Android system with new safeguards.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was just the latest in a string of big government clients that switched to competitors' phones.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon ended its exclusive deal with RIM to supply its vast workforce with BlackBerry smartphones.

The announced in November it was also turning to the .

RIM is set to unveil its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, aimed at better competing with Apple and others, on January 30.

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