updated 01:20 pm EDT, Mon October 29, 2012
Support could allow up to 8 million devices on DoD network
The Pentagon is working to open up its network to iOS and Android devices, according to an official document noticed by the Washington Times. The Department of Defense says it is hiring a contractor to build a system supporting at least 162,500 iOS and Android devices. In the future, that technology could be expanded to allow up to 8 million devices.
The announcement marks a significant opportunity for Apple, Google, and the various companies building hardware based on Google's Android platform. At the same time it marks another blow for Research in Motion, whose BlackBerry platform is currently the mainstay at the Pentagon. While RIM has lost a lot of its public marketshare, the security and enterprise features associated with BlackBerry have allowed RIM to hold onto corporate and government clients.
The DoD is branching out so that it can "take advantage of the increasing wireless capabilities that exist and that are developing in the marketplace," according to the document. The organization is hoping for a system that can also manage BlackBerries, but isn't making that a requirement. RIM's VP for government solutions, Paul Lucier, comments that the Pentagon simply already has the infrastructure to support BlackBerries.
Bids for the DoD contract are due by November 27th, and a single winner will be announced in April. The Times suggests that the contract should "probably" last at least a year, with an option to extend by another two.