BlackBerry announces BBM coming to iOS and Android later this summer

BlackBerry-BBM-iOS

Although BlackBerry has been rumored to bring its BBM messaging platform to iOS and other devices before, today the company has made things official announcing at its event that support for both iOS and Android will be arriving in the coming months. The service, which BlackBerry says currently has about  60 million monthly active users, will come to devices running iOS 6 and Android 4.0 or above when it’s launched as a free app sometime this summer in the App Store and Google Play.

The company said that it would be bringing messaging and groups functionality to new platforms first but also has plans to introduce voice features, screen sharing, and its just announced “social engagement platform” dubbed ‘Channels’ in future releases. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is “committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured” as possible. Read more

DoD to grant Apple’s iOS 6 & Samsung Galaxy devices security approval for widespread use by US government agencies

DOD-iPad-USThe iPhone and iPad have already been cleared for use by a number of US government agencies, and in February the US Defense Department confirmed plans to open its networks to 100,000 new devices from Apple and Google by February of next year. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports the DoD is about to grant two more important security approvals that could increase the number of agencies allowed to deploy iPhone, iPads, and Samsung Galaxy devices:

The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, the agency that sanctions commercial technology for Pentagon use, is set to rule that Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones, preloaded with Samsung’s Knox security software, conforms with the Pentagon’s so-called Security Technology Implementation Guide, according to people familiar with the approval process. That would allow it to be used by some Pentagon agencies for things like sending and receiving internal emails, according to these people.

Separately, DISA is expected to rule that Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 6, conforms to a different security-requirement guide, these people said. That would allow iPhones and iPads to be used by military agencies for nonclassified communications, like email and Web browsing.

The report from WSJ explained Samsung has been steadily increasing its attempt to break into corporate and government markets by hiring a new team of security experts and former RIM employees to reach out to Western governments and corporations: Read more

US Defense Department confirms plans to roll out 100K iOS and Android devices by next year

DOD-iPad-USWe heard reports in October that the U.S. Department of Defense was preparing to approve a large number of iOS and Android devices for use on government networks. Those reports were followed earlier this month with news that CACI International Inc. was modifying thousands of iPads for use in U.S. government agencies. The Pentagon confirmed in a statement today that it plans to open its networks to 100,000 new devices from Apple and Google by February of next year:

The Pentagon said it wants employees to have the flexibility to use commercial products on classified and unclassified networks. It plans to create a military mobile applications store and hire a contractor to build a system that may eventually handle as many as 8 million devices.

The move comes as iPad and other iOS devices continue to be adopted by government agencies over BlackBerry. Documents from October revealed the U.S. Department of Defense planned to deploy up to 8 millions devices partially made up of iOS devices, while a number of other U.S. agencies also switched from BlackBerry to iPhones over the last year. As for the App Store and system for managing the up to 8 million devices, the DOD will select one or more companies by summer to develop the necessary software: Read more

Apple renews efforts in India with increased distribution, marketing & installment plans

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Despite comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook last year about India remaining a lower priority than many other emerging markets, a report from Reuters today detailed how Apple is “aggressively pushing” the iPhone in India through payment plans and a new marketing campaign. Cook suggested last year that India wasn’t the biggest international focus for Apple and multi-layer distribution in the country “really adds to the cost of getting products to market.” According to Reuters, on top of an aggressive marketing campaign and payment plans, Apple also aims to increase the distribution channels Cook mentioned last year: Read more

CACI neutering thousands of iPads for use in government

iFixit-iPad-4According to a report from Bloomberg, Arlington, Va.-based CACI International Inc., is working with Apple to secure thousands of iPads for use in U.S. government agencies. CACI Chief Executive Officer Dan Allen referred to the modified devices as “neutered iPads” and hinted the company is working to implement security features related to wireless connectivity and the camera. CACI specializes in providing IT solutions to government, although it didn’t state how exactly the iPads are being secured, but it did note that it’s a hardware solution and not software:

“It’s a neutered iPad,” Allen said today during a meeting with Bloomberg Government reporters and editors. “We’re working on how do we effectively brand it.”

The move comes as iPad and other iOS devices continue to be adopted by government agencies. In October, documents revealed the U.S. Department of Defense planned to deploy at least 162,500 devices partially made up of iOS devices, while a number of other U.S. agencies also switched from BlackBerry to iPhones over the last year. Read more