According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the White House is in the process of testing a number of smartphones that run on Google's (GOOG) Android operating system to determine whether another phone could replace President Obama's BlackBerry. The devices reportedly under consideration are those made by Samsung and LG Electronics.
The devices are being tested by the internal tech team at the White House as well something called White House Communications Agency, a military unit focused on the President's communications. The story's source says testing is currently in the "early stages" and any actual switch would take months to accomplish.
The government's response to the report was vague. A Defense Department spokesperson said "We can confirm that the White House Communications Agency, consistent with the rest of the Department of Defense, is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices." The same spokesperson would not comment on which devices were on the White House's test bench.
Samsung refused to confirm the idea that any of its smartphones could be the President's next official mobile device. Samsung's official statement would only say "We have seen strong interest from the government sector and are working closely with various agencies to deploy pilot programs."
LG told The Wall Street Journal it was unaware of any White House testing of its Android phones.
BlackBerry had an official statement on the matter. "For more than a decade, BlackBerry has been securing the U.S. government's mobile communications and only BlackBerry is designed to meet the high-security needs of U.S. and allied government agencies." BlackBerry's new CEO John Chen said he has met with White House officials and believes securing government customers is one of his top priorities.
President Obama had admitted to using an Apple (AAPL) iPad for reading, but a source with knowledge of the situation says Apple iPhones are not part of the current White House tests.
Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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