01/23/2014 10:39 am ET Updated Jan 27, 2014

The Pentagon Is Saving BlackBerry


BlackBerry, the formerly hip and now dying smartphone maker, is getting a lifeline from a pretty uncool place: The United States government.

The Department of Defense is gearing up to release a new wireless network, and it will use BlackBerry. The Pentagon says 80,000 existing BlackBerrys will run on the network, constituting a majority of devices that will be part of the new military initiative. iPhones, iPads, Motorola RAZRs and Samsung phones and tablets make up the other 1,800 devices that will be on the network.

BlackBerry stock on Thursday morning was hovering near $11, up from about $7 at the end of the year. The company's been flying high ever since the Pentagon made its announcement on Tuesday. To be sure it's nowhere near its previous highs.

The government and many businesses make their employees use BlackBerry phones, since the devices are considered to more secure than iPhones (President Barack Obama famously still uses a BlackBerry).

The company has even been strategically backing off from regular consumers and focusing on business and government markets. While BlackBerrys may be markedly more secure than iPhones and Android phones, they are still not NSA-proof.

If the government is so concerned about security, maybe it should invest in the new Blackphone, an encrypted, entirely secure smartphone that is scheduled to be released in February.

CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that the Department of Defense purchased 80,000 new BlackBerrys. The Pentagon later clarified that 80,000 existing devices will be used on it and that no new BlackBerrys had been purchased.



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