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The U.S. Army chooses Android for their standard-issue smartphone

Posted: , by Ken N.

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The U.S. Army chooses Android for their standard-issue smartphone
Since December, the U.S. Army has been officially developing a standard-issue smartphone for their soldiers. But there has been much debate about what operating system it would use, and whether it was really a practical tool to implement. The smartphone, as it does for consumers, would facilitate communication, navigation, translation, and more in the field. And it seems the Army has settled on Android for their OS of choice.

The 'Joint Battle Command-Platform', developed by MITRE, is the current device of choice. When the development kit is released in July, we expect it to become a very profitable new frontier for app development. Did you developers know that you might end up as DoD contractors?

But many are concerned about the security risks associated with using a popular smartphone operating system. They cite the risks which third party apps would pose, and the potential for even Army-purposed apps to embed malware throughout the Army's network of devices. While we normally look at rooting and jailbreaking as harmless circumventions, they could be life-threatening within the Army's network.

On a more practical note, they're still ironing out how to keep the device functional in low-signal environments. We're going to label this a work-in-progress, and assume it won't reach full implementation for quite some time.

source: Wired via Yahoo! News

56 Comments
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posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:14 8

1. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


Yea, give the troops the least secure and least stable OS out there. They would be safer with live grenades strapped to their chests. Whats gonna happen when they try to contact a fellow troop with an important message? "This program has stopped responding unexpectedly" FORCE CLOSE. That sounds like a sweet deal to me....not.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:22 11

2. GetALife (unregistered)


you're an idiot! you obviously don't know anything about Android.

"Whats gonna happen when they try to contact a fellow troop with an important message?"

Well, unlike the iPhone the call will most likely connect! And stay connected!!!

dumb asses like you that go around spreading this fud are lame. . . get a life, get a clue, and grow the hell up!

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 16:03 6

26. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


dont have an aneurysm because i called your toy out for the junk that it is. go breathe some fresh air, get out of the basement and take out the trash like your mommy told to you do.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 20:50 4

50. protozeloz (Posts: 5367; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


lol people talk about their experience.... you lack in knowing that having a grenade strapped to your chest can save your live just because when you use it to bomb some ass you will safe your own, just so you know... in order to trow it you must mave it

now it seems you have quite an experience when it comes to basement life... and doing what mom says

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:57 6

11. Kjayhawk (Posts: 281; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


The fact that android is so open it is actually much more secure than many OS's. Motorola will start putting on a their phones that will allow them to be even more secure than Blackberries.

You should also note that since android is open it can be placed on many devices, if you didn't know an iPhone is pretty easy to break. The Army can develop a military grade phone making it less likely to break.

You clearly have no clue what you are talking about, and just made a fool of yourself.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 14:47 3

15. vantenkiest (Posts: 308; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


you made a fool of yourself too.. think about it if its open source then everyone knows what your using.. and if its connected to a data stream knowing what it uses can make it easier to track.. might give away army position and all.

second for a lot of apps that are not yet optimized for the current android version on a device there are a lot of issues load times may get in the way multi tasking might get in the way there are a lot of possible force close situations..

I love android and it works for me. but I am not counting on it to keep up with the military and keep a tactical view on anything. So there are many reasons to worry about it.. as well as many reasons this is a great thing to try.. EVERYONE should at least be open and objective about this idea.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 16:02 5

25. Kjayhawk (Posts: 281; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


I was just about to watch a movie now i have to correct you.

First if you knew what open source meant then you would know that almost everything on android can be modified so they can make it 100 times more secure. You can completely remove the GPS aspect of the OS... I have no idea why you would do this. I might be confused but you should know android can be made very, very secure you just won't have access to all the fart apps.

Second we don't play a lot of games on our phones kid, so not many apps need to be compatible only the ones used by the US Army.

I'm guessing the US Army use one phone and the apps they make for it will work fine since they probably only used on that device and can be used to work better on those devices (Not entirely true, of course I am just saying that the Army won't have a problem with the fragment problem).

Load times and freezes happen a lot, my dads company uses a app for iOS and they have slow downs and things like that.

Third you should know the US Army has some of the most intelligent people in the world, so you know what I am going to trust there judgment rather than yours.

Maybe I misunderstood what you were talking about, but you are right that the US Army will have to do things to make android more secure, the reason Android was chosen was probably because the US Army can provide soldiers with a strong device that won't break also they can provide them with a easy to use UI.

You should know the device won't be like your ordinary android device it will be a completely different experience.

The reasons they picked android is really overwhelming

posted on 24 Apr 2011, 16:29

64. Gsmalltheway (Posts: 139; Member since: 15 Aug 2009)


Seriously what is peoples deal about force closing?? never had an android phone have that problem and i have had every android phone tmobile has to offer as well as many unlocked ones so im guessing force close issue only effects a small minority of people

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 14:23 3

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


Its a fucking phone OS that works fine. That is why it has more people than iOS. Calm your ass down.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:32 3

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


Actually iOS has 59% more users

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:54 1

40. Lucas777 (Posts: 2121; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


very true

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 19:36 2

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


actually android is on 20% of the worlds smartphones while iOS is on 17% of smartphones.

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 09:40 1

57. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


in america iOS still has a few more users.. world wide, android is #1

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 16:16 5

27. Kjayhawk (Posts: 281; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


This shouldn't be an iOS vs android argument iOS isn't an option for the US Army, since the iPhone runs on one device and I would think Apple has no intentions on having to do a revised UI for the government, but I could be wrong.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 20:51

51. protozeloz (Posts: 5367; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


highly agree with you

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:24 6

3. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Great choice. "least stable and secure" lol. I love how iFanboys keep bleating that talking point as if it actually holds water.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:47 3

8. elandrumiii (Posts: 109; Member since: 20 Mar 2010)


He never sad iOS was better or mentioned the iPhone. Feeling guilty or something. Since you jumped on the "bash the iPhone" road.And for good measure I am the proud owner of an HTC Evo. I dont care for the iPhone.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:36 4

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


+1 Sniggly brings up the iPhone in every conversation and posts on every Apple article. He's completely obsessed with Apple. I think it has something to do with constantly losing sales to the iPhone. The force close comment was funny.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 16:31 2

28. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


i enjoy the fact that if you dont like android, you automatically default into the iphone catagory. shows their true ignorance. i never have and never will own an iphone, but i sure as hell would pick it over an unreliable android piece of crap.

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 10:17 2

59. QUEEN (unregistered)


Zuno, that's because if you're going to talk so much crap about an operating system that intimidates you so much, then you're obviously simple enough to probably be using an iPhone. That phone is strictly reserved for the mentally deficient.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:22 3

32. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


And Taco, at least I can change up my language from time to time. How often do you repeat the phrase "crushing defeat" and try to tell me why I dislike iPhone?

I'll explain it AGAIN, just because I'm patient with the mentally disabled. I've not once lost a sale to an iPhone. When I was working for Verizon I only had a few people coming in and asking for the iPhone, and even if they didn't buy anything that day, I always got them excited about Android instead.

Now that I've worked with AT&T, we have the iPhone, but our store chain and I get paid so little compared to other phones, we don't push it. If someone really wants it, fine, they get it. But again, very many times I'm able to sell them on phones like the captivate or inspire, or if the alternative is a 3GS, a Bravo.

Now will you finally stop your bullshit, Taco? Come up with new falsehoods to spread please.

N

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:50

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


Okay then answer the question of why you post on every Apple article and constantly bring up the iPhone even if it's not part of the discussion?

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 19:02 3

43. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Because Apple's a great target due to my genuine distaste for their business practices, and I like arguing on the Internet and making people like you who blindly defend Apple and attack Android look like dumb shits.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:35 7

4. the dude (unregistered)


the fanboys are just depressed that once steve jobs leaves apple they wont have anybody to tell them what to buy or how to use revouloutionary features that have been around since the first cell phone , such as the correct way to hold a phone

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:37 1

5. jovy121 (Posts: 14; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


GetAlife your an idiot. connecting a call has to do with AT&T crappy as network. The Verizon iphone doesn't drop nowhere near as much. Android is great but has more flaws than ios.
1 Googe does'nt care if you download an app and it kills your phone
2 Good luck on your super 3GHZ 1TB phone lasting all day
3 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4? Which one is it??????
4 The military is better off with a blackberry device for more reliability than android.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:42 6

6. cc (unregistered)


So what you are saying is:

1. Google lets you make decisions
2. The phones are too good for the battery.
3. The operating system evolves
4. The military probably loves doing battery pulls ten times a day

You are a moron.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 16:01 2

24. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


im sure they would enjoy doing battery pulls more than having to hard reset their phone every other day.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 18:25 3

41. cc (unregistered)


Good try.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:49 4

9. jbash (Posts: 339; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


Verizon iPhone has an antenna issue just like the ATT version, its a well known issue, just hold your phone correctly lol.
Point 1 True to an extent, but mostly due to the fragmentation arguement.
Point 2 I wish that was available! lol. But least you can quickly switch to a full battery.
Point 3 Is irrelevant because iOS has just as many OS updates to keep up with.
Point 4 Absolutely agree. I don't see how Blackberry got beat out by Android. For the features needed Blackberry can handle no problem.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:52 4

10. jbash (Posts: 339; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


Android prolly beat out BB because of Angry Birds lol

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 14:51 2

16. vantenkiest (Posts: 308; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


i can only imagine that its SLIGHTLY easier to dev apps for android.. but angry birds would be my next guess..

however i have not had much experience with the blackberry system. so im not really one to talk about that.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:45 8

7. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


well, at least i know why they didnt choose iOS. They didnt want apple keeping secret logs of all the troop movements and taking snaps of the soldiers while they video chatted with command.

:)

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:59 4

12. Kjayhawk (Posts: 281; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


82nd Airborne HOOOOAH!

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 14:43 1

14. Bulletshifttsi (Posts: 11; Member since: 22 Apr 2011)


Just like anything else technological wise, everything has room for improvement. Not to mention that better and newer technology is ALWAYS coming out almost everyday. You always have to keep evolving your OS. Things like bugs, hacks, and viruses also need to be patched. iOS has many updates as well. I agree with remixfa. Apple does done shady things with tracking, and collecting information. Apple likes to take its users by the balls with controlling everything about their equipment. Apple is ALWAYS behind the curve on physical technology. Apple won't let you just make apps how ever you want and neither will mircosoft. Whats the military app gonna be? iTactictal? iArmy?

Steve Jobs is the 2011 Oprah. "tell us what we should buy and like now steve!" "i should do what? buy the same phone twice cause you can't give me free choice of color when it launches?" "of course i will buy almost the exact same phone AGAIN just for a new iOS and crappy antenna" "how do you hold a cell phone again? oh thanks steve, glad your here to help me with that!"

I'm sure the people in the military are way smarter then anyone of us (including me) when it comes to their reasons, decisions, and knowledge when it comes to what they need and want.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 14:54

17. vantenkiest (Posts: 308; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


LMAO wow dude well said.. but who is this steve... seriously..

and in terms of army ppls.. i would hope that they are way smarter.. at least smarter then most of the ppl here in south western pa

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:01

18. Robert235 (Posts: 50; Member since: 30 May 2010)


The army made the right choice.iphone is equality to having beacon for a airstrike in your hands.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:01

19. JasonP (unregistered)


Wow so many experts here. Maybe the DoD should go on this site to look for consultants and advise them how to secure their networks and devices.

They chose Android for a reason. Don't y'all think they have SOME bright minds working for them? sheesh

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:20

20. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5522; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


They chose Android for much the same reason that handset manufacturers are choosing Android - no royalties back to Google. Since a contractor (Mitre) is building the handset that the Army is going to be using, expect it to be running its own flavor of Android. Also, do not expect the Army/Mitre handset to be running the most current flavor of Android all the time, as it takes time (and $) to update new versions of an OS (especially 'customized' versions).

Another question that comes to mind - what spectrum is going to be used? GSM, CDMA? Or???? And how will the Army manage channel/network availability? For example, in certain areas of Afghanistan, the Taliban forced cellular operators to shut down their network so the Taliban could move their forces and not have the movement reported.... If the Taliban can shut down a cellular network, other enemies can do the same.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:54 1

23. protozeloz (Posts: 5367; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


If you want to know why? its simple

-The company allows you to rearrange the OS completely (look at blur, ninja, sense, others) so it can be thighed with security even more... companies aren't getting into making the android environmental system more secure because they don't feel like it

people forget something... the army isn't just going to your At&t store and ask for 100k Atrix phones, they may go to an specific company (ex Motorola) and ask for a highly efficient device, meant for them, (the stock android with no apps already has most of the features the army needs) then they will work on their personal version of android and guess what? deliver updates themselves (because the army can), or people forget that wile many try to get 2.2-2.3 cyanogen mod has already deliver it to the phones they support (and compared to the army they a group of amateurs) so no army phones wont need to wait for new version of android.... now if a new version comes the army can decide if they should roll it out

why not go with apple and windows?

those two currently cost and manage their updates witch may be something the army may not be willing to allow

army doesn't care about how many apps the store has, neither how good the screen looks but the fact that they can grab an existing mobile OS and rearrange it completely may sound attractive

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 16:55 1

29. andro (unregistered)


Of course they'd pick android,it the more open less restrictive and easier to ultimate augment to suit their needs.

If they went for ios they'd be all sorts of problems like Apple trying to have too much contol over military data and no doubt finding apple charging a huge expense for it,the tax payers will be paying for it and God knows apple knows how to suck the pockets of the public dry

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:14

30. ALMurphy (unregistered)


"They would be safer with live grenades strapped to their chests." Many soldiers do have live grenades strapped to their chests?

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:17

31. derp (unregistered)


Umm...no? You pull the release pin to make it live. Idiot.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 18:28

42. cc (unregistered)


Derp, that is the ONE AND ONLY comment i've ever seen you post that actually makes sense and/or has ANY merit to it.

Congratulations.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:25 1

34. aztaxia12295 (Posts: 264; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)


why the fuck are we arguing about which os is better, how about we commemorate the job the army has done to protect america. fuck you all who are arguing.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 20:42

47. protozeloz (Posts: 5367; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


lol blame the first post.... dunno why people have a bad idea of android....

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 19:31 2

44. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6115; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Glad our MEN N WOMEN in uniform choose ANDROID OVER the overrated Iphone

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 19:45 1

46. ftl900 (unregistered)


@zuno.... a live grenade strapped to their chest? Whadda you know about grenades... ever seen a live grenade? Touched one?? Of course they have live grenades, since dummy ones wouldn't be much good to them!! Next time, pick a euphemism that you know more about... Your Post has stopped responding unexpectedly

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 20:43

48. protozeloz (Posts: 5367; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


LOL...

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 23:23

53. iRetardSux (unregistered)


Good job keeping iRetard away from the most important things in life & only give iRetard junk to 3-yr old to toy with. When in doubt just press that one-and-only ''Panic'' button in the bottom of your toy.
How would you expect the evil Jobs allow DOD to modify iOS! !?? He won't even allow Adobe Flash so he can squezze every pennies from iRetard Apps!!

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 01:47

54. TDroid21 (Posts: 70; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)


Ahh, wouldn't that be a perfect site seeing american soldiers playing angry birds while in teh middle of battles..? LoL

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 02:21

55. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Maybe the fake Angry Birds trailer will come true...

"Sir, I think this may be the least precise targeting system we've ever used!"

"It doesn't matter, lobbing in the general direction of those pigs will get SOME results! Just launch the damned bird!!!" :D

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 03:48

56. TDroid21 (Posts: 70; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)


lol nice one sniggly.. Maybe the army can learn a one or two from playing angry birds. Ran out out shells for mortars and cannons, or no more grenades or missles in teh middle of encounetrs? Teh army can do the old fashion way, angry bird style.
Use a giant slingshot and launch every damn GI on those pigs!! Hahaha LoL

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 10:48

60. jovy121 (Posts: 14; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


I hope the ARMY gets used to only having thier phone on for no more than 3 hard hours. Can you imagine a soldier needing to call for help, WAIT, the battery is dead on the android?? Battery pull away soldier.

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 13:46 1

61. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


As if any other smartphone os apart from Blackberry lasts longer. You can get a full day of use out of an android smartphone if you're not playing angry birds on it the whole time. I only have to do a battery pull on my phone once in a great while, and I abuse the shit out of the processor. Not to mention the phone has been dropped several times and even gotten wet. And what kind of phone do I have? A DROID X, of course. You know, a phone from that company everyone bashes despite the quality and innovation of its products.

posted on 23 Apr 2011, 15:13 2

62. Kjayhawk (Posts: 281; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


Chances are the device that is used will have a lot more battery power than other android devices. Thats the best part about android it can be put on a device that is best for the US Army. Also multiple batteries would likely be on hand.

Also you might want to look on phonearena, if you look at the battery length for most android device they are not up to par to many blackberries, but they are almost identical to the iphone and window devices.

Just because the HTC Evo and HTC thunderbolt have had battery problems doesn't mean that every android device is the same.

3 hard hours where did you get that from

posted on 25 Apr 2011, 21:13 1

66. unlimited357 (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Oct 2009)


Its the fucking army.... they'll stop at nothing to make sure this device is going to have a crazy security system that will track down the hacker before he hacks into the system... i mean they have some top secret stuff obv. so they wont take chances with anything.... android.. being open source, the army can install their own apps. and re configure the look of home screens, widgets, etc...... on ios u cant do that.

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