President Barack Obama salutes as he walks to Marine One following a town hall meeting in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, April 6, 2011. Official White House photo by Pete Souza.

An increasing number of US government employees are finally being allowed to drop their aging BlackBerrys and replace them for Apple’s fashionable gadgets or Google-powered devices, whichever they fancy better. That’s a pretty telling sign of the bigger changes in the technological mindset of the federal government. Today’s interesting story by The Washington Post outlines what we’ve known all along – that President Obama loves his iPad – adding that a growing number of tech-savvy federal employees are allowed to use their iPhones, iPads and even Google’s cloud services such as Gmail for work.

Somewhere in America, perhaps at this very moment, a bad guy is under video surveillance. He is being watched, every movement, every step — but not on a little TV. That’s so 2009. Instead, a special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is keeping tabs on an iPad. This is not a movie. This is not a Steve Jobs dream. This is the federal government 2.0, where technology upgrades no longer come at a “Little House on the Prairie” pace. Even President Obama, a BlackBerry devotee, has upgraded. He now owns an iPad, and it has been seen on his desk and under his arm.

The Washington work culture has long been dependent on Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones for their praised security features. Not anymore, the report notes…


Some in Washington are beginning to realize that RIM may not be their best bet anymore. Surprisingly, it isn’t even about security issues in India or RIM CEO’s “deer in the headlight” syndrome. Instead, the government’s technological revolution has been sparked by a far smaller choice of apps on the BlackBerry platform which doesn’t even compare to that on iOS or Android and RIM ignoring the booming tablet market for far too long, the paper explained. Top-level officials and “frontline workers” are bucking the trend, applying pressure on IT administrators to allow popular devices in workplace. It’s not just iPhones and iPads, but Macs, too. Mac shipments to governments surged a whopping 155.6 percent during the March quarter versus the PC market’s 2.3 percent overall growth. It’s happening for Google, too – some 17,000 federal employees are being moved onto Gmail. I’d go through the roof if I were RIM. No matter how you spin it, the real trouble starts when your government makes a gesture implying yours is an outdated technology. I mean, it doesn’t get any worse than that, does it?

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