US Agency To Hold BlackBerry 10 Trial As Handset Images Leak

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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RIM to hold pilot program with agency that said it was ditching BlackBerry 10 in favour of iPhone

RIM is to hold a pilot program for BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 with one of the US government agencies that said it was ditching the company’s smartphones.

The US Immigration and Customer Enforcement agency (ICE) will be among the first government organisations to pilot BlackBerry 10 smartphones, but there is no indication as to whether the agency is going to renege on its decision to issue its 17,600 employees with iPhones instead.

“ICE has been a valued BlackBerry customer for years, and our commitment to government agencies has influenced the development of the BlackBerry 10 platform.” said Scott Totzke, Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Security at RIM. “Along with providing workers with secure access to behind-the-firewall confidential information, BlackBerry 10 can help organisations fully leverage the potential of mobile technology to offer new services, improve service delivery and increase organisational productivity.”

BlackBerry 10 pilot program

RIM will be hoping that the administration and security features of the new platform will be enough to convince corporate and government customers to retain its services. RIM recently told TechWeekEurope that BlackBerry 10 is designed to appeal to both consumers and customers and boasts a range of tools that “don’t exist on any other platform.”

Earlier this year, the US Department of Defense invited companies to submit bids to provide software that can monitor, manage and enforce security requirements for iPhones and Android smartphones, while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has become the lastest government agency to end its exclusive use of BlackBerrys due to reliability issues.

However operators and analysts have been reportedly encouraged by BlackBerry 10, which is due to be officially unveiled on 30 January. A Vietnamese tech site has published pictures that it claims will be the first smartphone to run the operating system. The full-touchscreen handset appears to boast mini-HDMI and microUSB ports along with a MicroSD slot and removable battery.

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