Research In Motion (RIM), a one-time pioneer in the smartphone industry, has announced that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is going to begin a pilot program on its new line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Reuters reports that the U.S. federal agency has been previously been planning to move away from BlackBerry in favor of iPhone.
The news reflects that RIM’s BlackBerry 10 platform is gaining some traction ahead of its official launch next month. The company is now betting that these new devices will revive its fortunes. However, that will largely depend on the response from enterprise customers, such as ICE. The source points out that in October, ICE announced plans to end a long relationship with RIM, stating that BlackBerry devices could “no longer meet the mobile technology needs” of the agency.
At the time, ICE outlined intentions to buy iPhones for more than 17,600 employees. It is not immediately clear whether the agency plans to revisit this plan or whether its intends to use RIM’s new BES 10 platform to manage both iPhones and BlackBerry devices. A spokeswoman for the agency was not immediately able to comment on the pilot program or the agency’s plans.
Shares in the company rose 5.6 percent to close at $13.31 on the Nasdaq – their highest close since May 1. Its Toronto-listed shares rose 5.8 percent to close at C$13.14.
RIM is so far quite confident that its new line of devices, which will be powered by the BlackBerry 10 operating system, will be both smoother and faster than its previous phones.