Research in Motion Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins holds up a prototype of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone at the BlackBerry World event in May. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will soon test a version of BB10.

BlackBerry 10 to be tested by US government agency

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, will test out the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system. 

Back in October, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, announced it was dropping the use of RIM BlackBerry devices, which could "no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency," in favor of the Apple iPhone. But now, ICE has apparently reneged on its decision – according to Reuters, beginning in January, the agency will test out a range of forthcoming BlackBerry 10 handsets. 

As even casual watchers of the tech world know, RIM has not had a particularly good go of things in recent months. The Canadian company has weathered widespread layoffs, plummeting revenue, executive-level shake-ups – out goes one CEO and in comes another – and the failure of forgettable products such as the PlayBook, the now-moribund tablet computer. RIM desperately needs a hit. 

Which is what makes the arrival of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system so important. RIM is betting that the OS, which is expected to be officially unveiled in January, will allow BlackBerry handsets to more easily compete with Android and Apple iOS-powered devices. 

It's also what makes ICE's decision so notable: it demonstrates that a major organization is willing to take a gamble on RIM. 

"ICE has been a valued BlackBerry customer for years, and our commitment to government agencies has influenced the development of the BlackBerry 10 platform." Scott Totzke, RIM's senior vice president for BlackBerry Security, said in a statement obtained by CNET. "We look forward to sharing more features of the BlackBerry 10 platform at our global launch event on January 30."

Eager for the arrival of BlackBerry 10? Drop us a line in the comments section. And to receive regular updates on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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