Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry received a huge boost after it was revealed that the US Department of Defense (DoD) has placed an order for 80,000 devices with the firm.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) confirmed that, while it would start offering other devices including those made by Samsung and Apple, most devices would come from BlackBerry.
“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.”
The decision to use a raft of devices represents a new way of trying to incorporate the use of mobile devices into the defence agencies, DISA added.
News of the deal sent BlackBerry's share price soaring overnight to over $10, although it has dropped slightly since then. The announcement marks a major piece of good news for the firm after years of struggle, including major write-downs and profit losses.
BlackBerry has also announced plans to rid itself of three million square feet in commercial real estate in order to cut costs. The locations will all be in Canada, but the firm did not specify where they would be, although CEO John Chen confirmed its headquarters would remain.
“BlackBerry remains committed to being headquartered in Waterloo and having a strong presence in Canada along with other global hubs,” he said. “This initiative will further enhance BlackBerry’s financial flexibility, and will provide additional resources to support our operations as our business continues to evolve.”
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