On this Independence Day, the U.S. Senate is getting a little smartphone independence. U.S. Senators and staff were informed in a memo last week that production of BlackBerry 10 devices has been discontinued, opening the door for the Senate to move on from the long-trusted devices.
But a later statement from BlackBerry indicated that it is not shedding the BlackBerry 10 devices, instead implementing a “cross-platform model where we’ll continue to support our BlackBerry 10 platform while expanding our device offering to include Android-based devices.”
Even so, as Recode notes, this marks the end of an era, since BlackBerry’s parent company long-held government contracts for supplying smartphones.
The devices were long touted for their security, and to this day BlackBerry still touts security in its marketing messages, noting that devices were “designed with the highest standards of security in mind to protect your privacy.”
Meanwhile, BlackBerry is attempting to move beyond phones, repositioning itself as a software company. It is also working on three new Android-based phones, codenamed Neon, Argo and Mercury.
You can read the full memo on the smartphone change, uploaded by Politico, here. The memo notes that the U.S. Senate BlackBerry devices will be supported for the foreseeable future, but it also opens the door for Senate staff to obtain iPhones and Samsungs. It reads:
For offices wishing to make the transition from BlackBerry devices to other platforms, Verizon has agreed to suspend eligibility upgrade requirements for users migrating to Samsung S6 Android devices. Additionally, the $0 16GB iPhone SE has been added to the Technology Catalog, although current eligibility upgrade and mandatory AppleCare+ requirements apply.