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US Congress finally ditches BlackBerry for Senate staff

November 30,-0001 00:00

U.S. Congress is finally making the switch from BlackBerry to Android or iPhone, a switch most of us made years ago. After a decade of being issued BlackBerry devices, Senate staff will no longer receive new phones, according to a memo from the Senate ...

TOP TRENDING Allana Akhtar, USA TODAY 4:07 p.m. EDT July 4, 2016U.S. Congress is finally making the switch from BlackBerry to Android or iPhone, a switch most of us made years ago.After a decade of being issued BlackBerry devices, Senate staff will no longer receive new phones, according to a memo from the Senate Sergeant at Arms sent last week to administrative managers, chief clerks and system administrators that was posted by Politico and blogger Jim Swift.The reason, according to the memo: BlackBerry told telecom carriers Verizon and AT&T that production of all Blackberry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport and Classic) is being discontinued and future fulfillment can't be guaranteed.Staffers can use the remaining phones in stock, and will continue to receive uninterrupted warranty and technical support, for the “foreseeable future," the memo said.It's not clear what fate awaits the House's BlackBerry loyalists. A representative for Congress' administrative functions couldn't immediately be reached.In this June 3, 2010 file photo, President Obama uses his BlackBerry e-mail device. (Photo: Charles Dharapak, AP)The BlackBerry has long fallen out of fashion for most smartphone users, forcing a management shake-up at the Canadian tech company, rounds of layoffs, and a turnaround strategy focused on secure software.Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry (BBRY) reported a loss of $671 million and an over 30% drop in revenue during the three months ended May 31.It sold 500,000 phones in that period. In contrast, Apple sold 51 million iPhones in its latest quarter.Still, the BlackBerry has been a staple in Congress for its long battery life, prominence of e-mail and easy-to-use keyboard.It also has a reputation for being one of the most secure products available, as it has been fully encrypted for at least a decade. In an interview with USA TODAY last year, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company relies on the heads of state and government in developed countries like the U.S. to stay loyal to the phone, due to its top of the line security features.“If we can secure the device, it makes securing the software and the data management…that much more easier,” Chen said. “This is why all the governments in the major developed countries are using our devices. You can see the heads of state using our devices.”A BlackBerry representative did not respond to a request for comment.Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/29bDc9h

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