The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is looking to replace all of its BlackBerry devices with iPhone 5's. The agency posted a notice to the Federal Business Opportunities website seeking firms that can handle the the transfer of the agency's devices.
The NTSB stated that the switch away from BlackBerry was due to the devices "failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate." From the agency's justification document:
The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry-out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations
The agency is contracted with Verizon Wireless to provide it with wireless service, and it currently deploys some iPads to employees. It's decision to use the iPhone 5 instead of Android devices came partly because of that the iPad use:
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 NTSB also anticipates the benefit of synching of the iPad devices and the iPhone devices, allowing users to seamlessly transition between the use of multiple platforms while retaining the same applications and capabilities.
Research in Motion (RIM) has been losing large enterprise clients at a disturbing rate this fall. In September, Yahoo announced it would be giving free high-end smartphones - but not BlackBerrys - to its employees. Government contracter Booz Allen announced last month that it's 25,000 employees will be transferred to Android or iPhone devices, and the U.S. Department of Defense is looking to hire a contractor to manage hundreds of thousands of Android and Apple devices.
RIM is currently hanging its hopes of revitalizing its business on the January 30 launch of its new BlackBerry 10 platform. Analysts, however, are not convinced the new OS and devices will be enough to bring the company back to the dominance it enjoyed five years ago.