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Blackberry Government IOS Transportation United States Apple

NTSB Dumps BlackBerry In Favor of iPhone 5 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the kicking-them-when-they're-down dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) plans on replacing its existing stock of BlackBerry devices with Apple's iPhone 5. Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones, the government entity wrote in a Nov. 13 notice of intent, 'have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate.' The NTSB's use of iPads means it has the operational support for iOS; consequently, the decision was made to go with Apple. 'The iPhone 5 has been determined to be the only device that meets the dual requirement of availability from the existing wireless vendor and is currently supportable by existing staff resources,' the notice added. RIM is fighting to retain the government and enterprise contracts that originally made it such a mobile powerhouse. If agencies and boards such as the NTSB begin to embrace alternative platforms, however, that could critically weaken RIM's business model just as the company attempts a comeback behind the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform."
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NTSB Dumps BlackBerry In Favor of iPhone 5

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  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:33PM (#42058921)
    I just watched a demo of the new BB OS and it looked pretty good. I have had two concerns about their new phone the first being the touch screen for typing; with this it looks like they have a pretty innovative way of quickly typing. The second was that IT departments can and regularly cripple the phone. You have people walking around with a pretty good smartphone that was turned into a lump of crap by the IT department. No twitter, facebook, and even sometimes web surfing. So in the new OS they have created two modes of use business and personal. The guy specified that you could then cripple the business mode and free up the personal mode.

    These sound great and if the screen typing works as well as the demo it could be a game ruiner for touch screen phones without it; but I doubt it. If I were a company and I invented this technology I would sell it to one of the players with real cash. Second I suspect that this personal mode itself can be turned off. There is a reason that corporate types have been given free BB phones and then they go out and buy themselves a $700 iPhone with their own money and that is that IT can ruin iPhones. This also causes corporate types to rebel against IT and simply insist that the company switch to the iPhone. It is not a matter of which is better but which can't be crippled.

    So I think that the BB should have eliminated the ability of IT departments to treat their users like infants (CEOs & CFOs included) and they should have kept their awesome keyboards. Basically they should have eliminated a weakness and played on a strength. Lastly many BB users are older and all the cool whiz bang that I saw in the demo will result in the whole old dog new tricks problem.
  • Re:Single Supplier (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brucek2 (208676) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @02:53PM (#42059159)

    Unless there's a big software development project on top of iOS involved, I don't see where the "single-supplier" risk is.

    If what NTSB needs is a modern smart phone, they have multiple suppliers to choose from today, and are proving that point by potentially switching from one brand to another. Presumably all these phones can make and receive phone calls between brands; make and receive text messages, emails, etc. NTSB can mix and match between suppliers at any time unless they enter into deal terms that keep them from doing so.

    Now if they've built a bunch of custom IT 'solutions' on top of the phone that prevent them from doing this, I'd argue that's an issue not in choosing a specific phone but in how they set up their workflow in the first place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:19PM (#42059455)

    As an IT administratator all I can say is your attitude is poor. Why does the average worker need access to facebook and twitter? they are paid to work not to slack of tweeting and updating profiles.

    Workers seem to foget that a top priority of any IT department is to prevent unauthorised access or leaking of corporate data and not make the end use happy by giving them shinny toy X or Y, though it is nice to get some well manged and supportable hardware to the users.

    Lastly, Apple probably have one of the better out of the box solutions to manage their smart phones or "cripple them'' as you like to call it.

  • Re:Camera (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tilante (2547392) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:42PM (#42059699)

    I think they've figured that out - they just don't care. The DoD isn't really that big.

    Consider: the DoD, by their own claims, has about 3 million employees worldwide.

    So far this year, Apple has sold over 120 million iPhones.

    Thus, even if the DoD bought an iPhone for every one of their employees, that would only increase Apple's sales figures by 2.5%. Is that worth the expense of creating another phone model, manufacturing it, and then keeping it in manufacture?

    Before you answer that, consider this: what percentage of those DoD employees actually work in a position where they're not allowed to bring in a phone with a camera? Of those in such positions, how many of them actually work in a place where that requirement is enforced? From my own experience, only the most secure facilities actually try to keep out cell phone cameras - many facilities that in theory don't allow them in do allow them in practice.

    My guess would be that a high estimate would be 20% - which would then have Apple creating another model and manufacturing it for a potential 0.5% increase in sales - but that's assuming that everyone in the DoD who potentially needs such a phone gets one, and that they all get one in the course of one year. If, say, the DoD were to follow a more normal course and buy them over the course of three years or so, that comes an increase of less than 0.2%.

    The simple fact is, the market that 'needs' a lack of a camera is tiny.

  • by neilo_1701D (2765337) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:57PM (#42059849)
    Just over a week ago, we all got an email from Corporate Mobility saying that the Blackberry was being phased out in favour of the iPhone 5. They started popping up around the place a few days ago. Fujitsu made some sort of arrangement with Telstra regarding data plans, too. It amazes me just how fast the stranglehold BB had has unraveled...
  • Re:The figures? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @03:57PM (#42059861) Journal

    So what is the MTBF of a BlsckBerry v. an iPhone 5, and where do these numbers come from? Always be suspicious when governments use statistics to justify anything.

    Blackberry phones are physically far more robust than iPhones.

    If the reliability claims are not pure BS justification to get a more "shiny" phone, it's possible that the problems are with BES rather than the phone itself.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:28PM (#42060861) Homepage Journal

    As an IT administratator all I can say is your attitude is poor. Why does the average worker need access to facebook and twitter? they are paid to work not to slack of tweeting and updating profiles.

    As the guy who eats lunch with your boss, all I can say is your attitude is poor. The company wants me to carry a phone so they can contact me in an emergency, but they don't want me to enjoy any part of the experience of having the damn thing glued to my hip? No thanks. If you give me a locked-down brick around with me, expect to find it in my desk drawer as I head home for the night.

    If I have to have a leash, then it's going to be a fun leash with Angry Birds, Facebook, Twitter, and a decent web browser. Most IT staff seem to get that. If your company culture lets you get away with that attitude, then I think I can explain your higher than average attrition rates.

    Just stop right there. You were going to say "but I'm CTO of a Fortune 500 company and we're growing like crazy LOL!" weren't you. No, you're not. You're a powertripping junior staffer at a small company. Big companies who value being able to hire and retain employees understand these kinds of basics. The others? We make fun of them here when their horror stories inevitably leak to the press.

  • Re:How (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:29PM (#42060873)

    And guess what ... you can do the same thing on an iPhone. Its not 2007 anymore.

    Your departments IT staff sucks ass, if that means you, sorry. You're ignorant and can't be bothered to resolve that issue with a quick couple of Google searches.

  • by ImprovOmega (744717) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @05:33PM (#42060911)
    Depends on what you're using it for. Accident investigation is hardly the kind of job that requires a rugged phone. I mean, I wouldn't give an iPhone to a construction worker or to someone doing any real physically strenuous job, but accident investigation is much more about forensically analyzing a wreck, not the dangerous and rough parts during or immediately following one, such as the crash itself, first responders, search and rescue. It's incredibly important work, but it's hardly inappropriate for a "fragile" phone like the iPhone.

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