The Defense Department is allowing a second mobile platform to access its networks, but it is not quite yet a “bring your own device” approach.
Dell’s Venue smartphone is the only device the company currently sells that runs Android 2.2, as Dell recently stopped producing its Streak series of tablets that ran this version.
However, the Pentagon’s approval is conditional. The phones cannot be used to send or receive classified information and web browsing must be done through a Pentagon proxy server.
Stripes reports this is the first time the Pentagon has approved a smartphone other than BlackBerry. BlackBerry has long been favored because of its encrypted email and other security features.
The Pentagon chose Android, an open source software developed by Google, because it allows users to modify programs and install third-party software. Pentagon technology experts want to install antivirus software and other security features on Android phones, according to a Dec. 9 Stars and Stripes story.
Apple’s iOS operating system does not allow users to install third-party security software on the iPhone. Currently, iOS is only approved for testing and pilot projects within the Defense Department. The Defense Information Systems Agency, which oversees mobile device use on Pentagon networks, has not indicated when iOS may be approved for broad use, according to Stripes.