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Pentagon plans to purchase over 162K Apple iOS and Android devices

The U.S. Department of Defense is planning to revamp and expand its secure mobile devices infrastructure, replacing aging RIM BlackBerry products with versions of Apple's iPhone and iPad, as well as select Android smartphones and tablets.

The plan was revealed in a document published by the DoD's Defense Information Systems Agency earlier this month, which outlined a proposal for a mobile device management (MDM) solution that secures Apple and Android devices, but leaves out BlackBerry and Windows products, reports Bloomberg.

According to the release, the Defense Department plans to contract out a solution to manage and secure at least 162,500 iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, with the potential to expand the system to handle eight million devices. The system has the potential to handle a total of 262,500 devices by the end of the one-year long contract period, which has contingencies for up to four six-month extensions.

DISA said the undertaking is “a significant step towards delivering a secure mobile communications capability to the entire DoD enterprise," and will incorporate existing mobile devices with the new procurements.

As BlackBerrys are currently standard issue at the agency, however the new contract plans will allow a variety of mobile devices to access the DoD's network so employees can “take advantage of the increasing wireless capabilities that exist and that are developing in the marketplace," according to the document.

It is unclear what percentage of the proposed 162,500 devices will be running iOS, however it appears that no new BlackBerry purchases will be made. RIM Vice President of Government Solutions Paul Lucier, said that the agency didn't mention BlackBerry compatibility in the proposal's requirement list because there is already a system in place to manage and deploy the Canadian company's products.

Responses to the proposal are due on Nov. 27 with the winning contractor expected to be announced in April.