Yet another U.S. federal agency has announced that it is abandoning RIM's ... wait for it ... beleaguered BlackBerry platform for iPhones and other devices. This news comes from Politico.com, which notes that up to 3,800 BlackBerrys will be swapped out within the next year at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The transition for the feds will start soon, with March being the date set for replacing the 2,400 BlackBerrys now carried by special agents in the field with iPhones. ATF, as the agency is still known, has been beefing up its mobile device infrastructure in preparation for the swap.
The remaining 1,400 BlackBerrys will be phased out with a mixture of other devices. ATF is also finishing a pilot project at the Bureau that involved almost 200 iPads, although there is no definitive word on exactly how many of Apple's tablets will be purchased.
Rick Holgate, the CIO for the Bureau, was quoted as saying the agency was switching to iPhones for "Video streaming, GPS capability, capabilities, the camera ... a variety of things. Yes, these things exist on BlackBerrys, but in terms of ease of use and adaptability of the devices, the iPhones are the more functional and compelling use case."