RIM says U.S. immigration and customs to launch pilot program with BlackBerry 10

WATERLOO, Ont. – Research In Motion says the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will be launching a pilot program with its smartphones using the new operating system BlackBerry 10, likely in January.

RIM (TSX:RIM) recently announced that the BlackBerry 10 platform has received certification to allow government agencies to deploy BlackBerry 10 smartphones when the new operating system launches on Jan. 30.

RIM shares closed up 3.73 per cent to $13.63 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Waterloo, Ont., smartphone maker says the U.S. agency will be among the first government organizations to pilot BlackBerry 10, widely considered a make or break product for RIM.

However, BlackBerry smartphones were recently dropped by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board in favour of the new iPhone 5, with “performance issues” cited as the reason.

RIM has lost several other U.S. departments and agencies as clients. They include the Defence Department, the Transportation Security Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which have also chosen the iPhone.

But RIM has said it has one million government customers in North America alone who depend on BlackBerry, and more than 400,000 government customers worldwide upgraded their devices in the past year.