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Smartphones in the military-ask and tell

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Smartphones in the military-ask and tell
A 6 week trial of smartphone use in the U.S. Army is nearing the end and according to program director Michael McCarthy, younger soldiers familiar with such devices are finding them easy to use in the field. 300 handsets were used in the test which included the Apple iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 models. There were a few OS bugs and the Apple iPhone running over AT&T's network could not get a signal in testing areas of the New Mexico and Texas desert. One Samsung Android model running on Sprint didn't work and had to be exchanged for another model from Samsung

The soldiers can use the smartphones to send texts of GPS coordinates, file reports directly from the handset, or use the camera to take pictures of surroundings. With no special software used, these models could not be made secure enough for overseas operations although the Army is considering using the phones in connection with other radios to help encrypt transmissions. In sensitive areas, the Army is planning on using "cell towers in a suitcase", similar to femtocells, to ensure signal strength in certain areas.

Army program director Ed Mazzanti says that they will be selecting two mobile operating systems to deploy later this year. This way they can minimize the need for software development while still offering variety. Mazzanti says that so far the Apple iPhone and Android have been "well received".

source: CNN via Engadget

21 Comments
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posted on 16 Jul 2011, 19:24 3

1. BobbyTaba (Posts: 316; Member since: 11 Aug 2010)


I dont know how ppl keep getting iphones I had one and I got tired of it within the first year

posted on 16 Jul 2011, 19:27 2

2. astatinetaketake4 (unregistered)


What about BlackBerry?
Isn't it supposed to be the most secured OS?

posted on 16 Jul 2011, 20:53 2

3. momo23 (unregistered)


Inferior products seem to promote security as the major selling point.

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 00:11

7. biophone (Posts: 1893; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Have fun with your viruses. I envy you

posted on 18 Jul 2011, 09:31 1

21. downphoenix (Posts: 2299; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


nobody even bothers writing a virus for blackberry because noone cares. I bet the moment someone does all hell will break loose for blackberry users because their software is as terrible as their hardware.

posted on 16 Jul 2011, 22:41 2

4. cheeseycheeser (Posts: 382; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


Hmm, I think the WP7 might be good for that as everything is right there, but the others work fine too. I think it's great they're giving those to soldiers though! :)

posted on 16 Jul 2011, 23:05 2

5. r01DU53r (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


I like Android and all but isn't it kinda an iffy operating system to be using for our Army? Granted, they don't have to go around downloading malware and everything to their phone, but with how easy it is with Android I personally don't think it is the best choice...

iOS, BB6, or WP7!

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 12:52 3

13. Jon Garrett (unregistered)


I cant think of any OS more vulnerable than iOS. EVERY version gets hacked within a matter of hours after release and EVERY version was supposed to patch the vulnerability. iOS is no more secure than Android in the hands of the general public., but for government use they both should be fine.

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 00:03 1

6. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


I would think WP7 might be the best option for something like that with its simpler layout.

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 00:30 4

8. messiah (Posts: 433; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)


Iphone 4 couldn't get reception ..... Maybe they were holding it incorrectly. Surely the military intelligence did research on handling the phone properly.....

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 03:11 2

9. jtech (Posts: 101; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)


WP7 would be a good one in my opinion as well. Simple and smooth UI, the voice search is far more accurate compared to the one on android and with mango coming out..don't get me started. Android kind iffy. A big flaw would have to be its lag and freezes and malware, but other then that ehh.. iOS lol!!!

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 07:44 2

10. Slammer (Posts: 997; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


There are some that feel Android is not worthy of military use. However, we must remind ourselves that Android in its native form, is a very viable OS. There will be no malware or carrier lock downs with the military issued handsets. Pure Android with only military approved software apps and hardware accessories.

John B.

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 09:26 1

11. daniel_bargs (Posts: 323; Member since: 27 Nov 2010)


i dont think so Apple iPhone is suitable for soldiers... it has no removable battery! how the hell would they charge their cellphones in the middle of gunfires??! i prefer androids because there are variety of phones; many form factors, the same, pure OS. and all android phones have removable batteries and memory cards! that's a necessity for a soldier!

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 10:17 2

12. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)


In fact you're wrong. There are only three Android phones that have the pure OS on it. Most have some sort of overlay on them. HTC has sense, Samsung has their own version of sense and so on. If you want to use the same OS on every phone it comes down to two iOS or WP7.

posted on 18 Jul 2011, 09:36 1

22. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


What about when the soldiers have to make an important call and then... FORCE CLOSE!

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 13:16

14. Sniggly (Posts: 6914; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Fun. I'm really not wild about this either way.

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 15:44

15. snowgator (Posts: 3201; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Relax. It is the Military. When I got out of the Navy in 1996, I was still working on transmitters and recievers with vacuum tubes in them. By the time they get a decision, they will decide against it due to morse code and smoke signals not carrying over LTE that well ....

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 20:58 1

16. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)


Is thee army clueless or something? Have they ever heard of meego before? also why not make their own private OS, there's tons of tech smart U.S. Citizens out their that can be forced to make it possible.

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 22:32 2

18. snowgator (Posts: 3201; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Outstanding suggestion. Truly - an OS fit to military needs. They do their own secure comms, so why not?

posted on 18 Jul 2011, 08:59 1

20. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


I bet the Marine Corps will get it's own Family Plan:
Commandant gets line 1
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps gets line 2
700,000 add on lines...

This is my phone! There are many like it but this one is mine!

posted on 18 Jul 2011, 09:37

23. downphoenix (Posts: 2299; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Android would be the most logical choice. It is very customizable and has proven to be very secure when done right. Also they wouldnt be able to get their own private apps on Iphone unless they jailbreak it or Apple makes them special order, which will be costly I bet. Windows Phone 7 would be another great choice, but the article said that Iphone and Android was well received, WP7 maybe not so much, but it could simply be a familiarity issue, as it is still a young platform and most of those troops probably have never even seen a WP7, but all of them have seen Iphone or Android or both.

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