'Android freezes': Or, does the US Army really mull a switch from Samsung to the iPhone?


Now, here is a story for the fanboy ages. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) - you know, the one that is managing the smorgasbord of spec ops from Fort Bragg, NC, and the largest piece in the US Special Operations Command puzzle, is supposedly moving from Android to the iPhone 6s, as per one anonymous source who we already wrote about.

The reasoning? Well, Android freezes and has to be restarted, they say, while on the iPhone the graphics flow smoother. The insider that has tipped about this alleged iOS coup has used these exact words: "faster, smoother, Android freezes up.” Most of these freezes apparently occurred under heavy use of graphical rendering, like when using a split-screen view to show footage from the drone above the squad, and the designated route to follow at the same time.

The iPhone had allegedly passed this test with flying colors, while the Samsung phone that is in their current so-called Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAC), had problems refreshing, and often had to undergo a reboot to function properly, which ate up valuable time. So far, so good, but what exactly is that mysterious Samsung gear that locks up so badly under graphical pressure? 

Well, as you can see from this ATAC system promo video above from 2014, it might very well be none other that something like the ancient Galaxy Note II. That one obviously can hardly cope with modern drone footage stream and terrain rendering requirements, so seeing it all work fine on a 6s would seem as a revelation to the regular guy on the ground. Granted, the Juggernaut Cases that are featured here now have versions for models like the Galaxy S7 or Note 5 as well, but we doubt the Army has procured those yet, given that the promo clip is barely two years old.

Moreover, the military publication that got tipped the Android-to-iPhone story, reached out to the actual Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier department that is in charge with procurement decisions, and got a boilerplate "no response" answer on whether the US Army SOC is indeed mulling a switch from the ancient Samsungs in their ATACs, to the alleged iTACs with iPhone 6s, so the story hasn't gotten a second source or an official confirmation just yet. Furthermore, the drone footage and topography software seems to be made to run on Android, though we suppose it's a custom, more secure version, while Samsung has been chosen by the Army before precisely on account of its KNOX enterprise-grade security software that comes with its Galaxies. How would that translate to the eventual iTACs, remains yet to be confirmed.

In any case, even if the ATAC was unquestionably becoming an iTAC, given the pace of Army procurement and red tape, they might equip the iTACs with the 6s by the time the all-glass iPhone 8 is out, and run into similar problems when the amount of graphical data to crunch increases with time. The problematic split-screen footage in question that often freezes the handset in the current ATAC appears at 0:17 and 0:29 into the video above. Alternatively, the spec op folks might just want to score a newer, prettier phone that something like the Note II behemoth that is visible in the promo clip, and are planting these tips to make their voices heard, if you had to go all conspiracy over this. How about a Pip-Boy, what do you think about the whole ordeal?

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