BUSINESS

Obama's BlackBerry May Be History As White House Tests New Phones

03/20/2014 04:54 EDT | Updated 03/20/2014 04:59 EDT
SAUL LOEB via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama uses his BlackBerry or similar device as he walks to the Oval Office after returning to the White House in Washington, DC, January 29, 2009, after attending a performance at his daughter's school. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Getting to keep his BlackBerry was one of Barack Obama’s first battles when he became president, and those pictures of the president tapping away at his phone were certainly a boost to the struggling company behind the device.

But those days may soon be over.

According to a report at the Wall Street Journal Thursday, the White House is now testing Android smartphones for internal use.

The tests are being carried out by a military unit responsible for White House communications, and any decision to switch the president from the BlackBerry is still “months away,” an unnamed source told the newspaper.

Just months ago, it seemed BlackBerry’s lock on the White House was a sure thing, with the president telling media late last year that he basically has to stick with the BlackBerry because officials won’t let him have an iPhone for “security reasons.”

(BlackBerry is generally considered the most secure smartphone, thanks to its encryption technologies. Some have asserted the phone is essentially NSA-proof.)

But the president may still not be able to use an iPhone, as the White House is only testing phones from Samsung and LG, which both run on Google’s Android operating system.

Government orders have long formed a significant part of BlackBerry’s revenue, but as the company’s market share continues to shrink, those contracts are becoming harder to hold onto.

BlackBerry has been trying to stem the tide. CEO John Chen held talks with the White House earlier this month to bolster support for the smartphone, Bloomberg reported.

BlackBerry shared closed down 1.3 per cent Thursday on the NASDAQ, trading at $9.42 U.S.

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