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OTTAWA, Nov 8 AFP

November 09 2012, 07:25AM

Blackberry maker Research in Motion has announced that its newest smartphone platform, Blackberry 10, has been certified as secure for use by US government agencies.

FIPS or Federal Information Processing Standard certification "provides confidence to security-conscious organizations, including US and Canadian government agencies, companies in regulated industries and other organizations dealing with sensitive information, that data stored on smartphones running Blackberry 10 can be properly secured and encrypted," RIM said in a statement.

The new platform is to launch in early 2013 to help Blackberry compete with Apple and other smartphone makers.

Thursday's announcement comes one week after the Pentagon ended its exclusive deal with RIM to supply its vast workforce with Blackberry smartphones.

Another government agency, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, also said it was dropping the Blackberry device altogether in favour of Apple's iPhone.

The US military and intelligence agencies have long preferred the Blackberry due to security concerns and had worried that Apple, Android and other smartphones lacked sufficient safeguards.

But the technology has advanced and Pentagon officials said innovative applications available on other smartphones could be useful for different units or offices.