Obama ditches BlackBerry for a new ‘play phone’
Washington, June 13 (IANS) When it comes to smartphones, the world is moving fast. So has US President Barack Obama who has bid goodbye to his “increasingly rare” BlackBerry device which he was using since before he took office.
Appearing on the “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon on a TV channel, Obama said he has been given a brand new device (currently unnamed) which is “so locked down for security reasons that I can’t call, play music, send texts or take pictures,” The Verge reported on Monday.
“It’s like one of those ‘play phones’ you’d give to a three-year-old,” Obama told the TV host.
Since BlackBerry devices are gradually been shown the door by Android and iOS-based smartphones and many app developers are leaving its platform in the past few years, the US authorities feel the new Android and iOS devices have strong security measures like end-to-end message encryption.
The New York Times reported in April this year that some White House staffers were upgrading to Apple iPhones.
The National Security Agency (NSA) first set up the extra-secured BlackBerry for Obama in 2008. It has a special security software called SecureVoice. The device was stripped of every built-in feature — even no selfie-camera or texting functionality — that was at the risk of hacking.
According to media reports, the Blackberry was limited to calling only about 10 numbers also packed with same encryption, including Vice President Joe Biden, Obama’s Chief of Staff, his press secretary, First Lady Michelle Obama and a few other family members.