THE UNITED STATES MILITARY has thrown Canadian phone maker Blackberry a desperately needed lifeline, as the US Department of Defense (DoD) has placed an order with the struggling firm for 80,000 devices.
Smartphone buyers might be falling out of love with Blackberry, but the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) reaffirmed its commitment to the firm with the announcement that it will deploy 80,000 Blackberry devices as part of the Pentagon's Mobility Implementation Plan.
The DSIA will buy 1,800 other devices under the plan, including a handful of iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 handsets, Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablets and a few now ageing Motorola Razr phones.
"DoD will begin deploying version 1.0 of the unclassified mobility capability [on] 31 January and will build out capacity to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year," it said.
"The program currently supports 1,800 unclassified mobile devices including iPad 3 and 4, iPhone 4S and 5, Samsung 10.1 tablets and Samsung 3S, and Motorola Razr devices with participation from the combatant commands, services and agencies throughout DoD. The program also supports 80,000 Blackberry phones."
Following the announcement, Blackberry's share price gained almost 10 percent overnight to $9.93, which sees the firm's shares up almost 30 percent from the end of 2013.
This isn't the only reason Blackberry is in the news today. The firm has also announced plans to sell three million square feet of commercial real estate in Canada, although the firm's CEO John Chen said that Blackberry's headquarters will remain there.
Chen said, "Blackberry remains committed to being headquartered in Waterloo and having a strong presence in Canada along with other global hubs.
"This initiative will further enhance Blackberry's financial flexibility, and will provide additional resources to support our operations as our business continues to evolve."
Oh dear, it seems like this wasn't such good news for Blackberry after all. The DoD has issued a statement clarifying that it did not buy 80,000 Blackberry devices, but is instead making use of old ones.
A spokesperson said, "Absolutely no new orders have been placed for new BB devices. The DISA press release put out Jan. 16 never alluded to any devices being purchased.
"The 80,000 BBs and 1,800 non-BB devices referenced in the release are legacy systems already in DoD inventories." µ