BlackBerry 7 models approved by Defense

It’s time for an upgrade. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion announced Wednesday that the Department of Defense has approved six of its BlackBerry 7 models for use on its secure networks.

The company said that the BlackBerry Bold (9900 and 9930), the BlackBerry Torch 9810, the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 and the BlackBerry Curve 9360 were all approved for use. Three of those phones have touchscreens, though only the Torch lacks RIM’s signature physical keyboard.

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While the BlackBerry gets teased a lot in the technology press as it loses market share to the iPhone and a host of Android models, it’s still the favored smartphone of the U.S. government — and of Washington, D.C., as The Washington Post reported.

The handset maker’s reputation for security has kept it in the government’s good graces, even as some agencies and Congressional offices switch over to RIM’s competitors.

With the approval comes a few more features for all Department of Defense users, the company said in a release.

“The Army introduced a wide range of new apps and capabilities for their BlackBerry users last year, and these new BlackBerry 7 smartphones will now enable Army users, and all DoD users, to experience an even greater level of performance on new smartphones that include features such as voice activated universal search, Near Field Communications, Augmented Reality, and Social Feeds 2.0 just to name a few,” said Scott Totzke RIM’s senior vice president of the BlackBerry Security Group, in a statement.

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