BlackBerry is about to lose its highest-profile user

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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While President Obama still won’t be able to have his long-coveted iPhone, he may be in store for an Android upgrade and become the latest high-profile user to leave the struggling BlackBerry brand.

The White House is in the midst of testing Samsung and LG handsets for official internal – an effort that includes the White House Communications Agency, which regulates all of the president’s communications, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Obama has used a BlackBerry since before his election to the White House, when he received a new model with classified security specs. BlackBerry handsets have been the smartphone of choice for the federal government – especially within the Department of Defense – for years thanks to their storied security measures.

The company took a major stock hit last year after DOD announced it would not be renewing a contract that included some 80,000 BlackBerry devices. According to the Journal report, Obama probably won’t be trading up for another few months, as tests are still in the early stage.

Though numerous mobile handset companies have quickly begun expanding the marketplace for “black” or secure, untraceable smartphones (check out Silent Circle’s “Blackphone,” Boeing’s “Black,” and FreedomPop’s “Snowden Phone”), the model headed to the Oval Office will be unlike anything else on the market.

Any smartphone cleared for POTUS will be heavily modified to privatize and document all communications – requirements for approval from the National Security Agency. Obama’s current BlackBerry only allows him to get in touch with 10 other people – highlighting the ultra-sensitivity of the president’s on-the-go phone.

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