Qantas Airways is set to become an Apple world, in large part, as the national carrier disclosed plans to replace the mobile handsets that were being used by company employees with iPhones, which emerged as the preferred smartphone in a recent Qantas internal survey.
The move will soon severe Qantas' existing contract with Research in Motion, maker of BlackBerry, adding up another woe to the Canadian firm's already problematic financial situation.
According to Qantas public information head Paul Jones, the mobile device switch lays out a strategic IT path for the airline, which has been aiming to streamline its operating costs amidst the financial challenges besetting the company.
"Transition from the BlackBerry to the iPhone is part of Qantas' broader mobility strategy and, once complete, will result in significant cost savings," Mr Jones told Fairfax on late Tuesday.
He admitted that fresh arrangements struck by Qantas with Telstra Corporation and Optus would give the carrier at least a yearly savings of $1 million.
"We're actually moving away from BlackBerry across the board," Mr Jones added as he pointed to workers' survey that showed Qantas employees were more inclined to use the iPhone, which has been enjoying huge popularity around the world.
"The iPhone offers a user-friendly interface and simple access to emails, contacts and calendars, as well as meeting all Qantas' security requirements," the Qantas spokesman also pointed out.
But in abandoning BlackBerry, which used to pride itself as the default choice of mobile gadget for corporate use, Qantas appears to be prepared too in implementing "a bring-your-own-device policy," which means staffs can opt out of the iPhone choice and take instead a different smartphone brand.
In this case, Android will become the second pick, Qantas said, underscoring the likelihood that BlackBerry handsets will soon be obliterated in the work environment of the national carrier.
The switch to iPhone came as Qantas announced last week that 2,200 iPads will be issued to its pilots starting September 2012, a move that will totally eliminate the presence of voluminous documents and manuals on every Qantas cockpits during actual flights.
Again, the plan is attached with the company's deal with Telstra, Qantas officials said.
Qantas' migration out of the RIM realm is the second major blow to the struggling handset maker's Australian operations this year, according to Digital Trends, noting too that IBM Australia had earlier indicated intents to halt its corporate use of what used to be as the top smartphone in the world.
In response to the news, RIM Australia said in a statement that despite the setback it will definitely maintain its presence in the country, noting that major local banks and key government ministries still depend on BlackBerry for their mobile and secure communication needs.
"No one has a better track record of securely managing mobile devices in the workplace than RIM," Fairfax reported the company as saying.
"Our infrastructure is trusted by some of the most security conscious organisations in the world - including the Australian government," RIM Australia's statement added.
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