Army Picks Android As Smartphone for Soldiers

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BY KELSEY WAANANEN ANCHOR ANA COMPAIN-ROMERO You're watching multisource tech news analysis from Newsy ...
BY KELSEY WAANANEN ANCHOR ANA COMPAIN-ROMERO You're watching multisource tech news analysis from Newsy The Army has picked Google’s Android operating system to run multipurpose smartphones that soldiers will use in the field. The phone will weigh about two pounds, five times heavier than the heftiest commercial smartphone. But the platform will include applications for critical messaging, mapping and tracking. Escapist Magazine notes that the Army already has several systems that perform these functions-- but it’s smart to condense them all into one machine. “I'm impressed that the guys in the Pentagon would consider ditching custom-made computers and just let the soldier use what the commercial market has deemed the most effective way to collect and share intelligence information - the smartphone.” So why did the Army pick Android over Apple’s iPhone? Wired says the choice came down to the platform’s flexibility. “...the point of building the Mobile/Handheld Computing Environment is to have a common framework for designing apps that can run on any manner of devices — and that’s an early indication that the Army’s leaning toward Android devices, especially in this age of budget efficiencies, rather than iOS, which is tied to one specific (i)Phone. Score one for open architecture.” But what about the security of Android-- commercial Android phones have a high risk of malware. Tech Eye says the military wouldn’t have these problems. “Some have been critical of Android, sometimes viewed as lax with app security, though this is primarily due to the vulnerable rogue third-party apps, and it is unlikely that military phones would be open in such a way, not least to stop privates playing on Angry Birds rather than shooting at people.” Digital Trends points to another aspect of smartphone development. “How to keep the devices and their software secure is one major concern for the Army. Keeping the devices connected to a wireless communications network in a variety of environments is another problem.” So, how will Apple respond to the military snub? “It's a coup for Google, and one that almost invites Apple to try and push back to promote its iOS. Maybe we can expect a new iPhone in camo colors sooner rather than later; if nothing else, at least we'll always know where the soldiers are.” The Army project still has a long way to go -- the smartphones aren’t expected to be issued to soldiers until fiscal year 2013. 'Like' Newsy on Facebook for updates in your news feed Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy
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