The United States Army is looking at Android to power its first smartphone, according to reports. The Army has been looking to bring smartphones into the hands of their soldiers to help stay in contact, and it looks like Android wins. The prototype is known as the “Joint Battle Command Platform” (JBCP) and is being developed by MITRE. Also an SDK known as the Mobile Handheld Computing Environment is also seems to be in the works for developers.
The Army’s goal is to have every solider equipped with one of these Android powered devices. By doing so squads will be able to stay connected on the battlefield and will be able to relay information quickly and efficiently.
Some of the applications that will be on the device include mapping functions, force tracking with friend or foe technology, critical messaging for data exchange and medevac requests, and reports from the field.
There are several challenges involved, the first being connectivity. During battle, the first thing usually destroyed is communications. By creating a device that does not need the use of cell towers will be tricky, but possible.
Another challenge is security. Security is the biggest issue when it comes to open source platforms. So military encryption will be a vital part of a military smartphone.
Now the question is can the Military design a smartphone that not only is able to work with such things as cell towers, but will also be secure enough and be durable enough to be used on the battlefield. According to the prototype it is possible.
According to Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli, devices are already being tested in the field with excellent results. However, the problem that is still being faced is weight.
While are civilian smartphones only weigh mere ounces, the JBCP weighs in at two pounds. Although that two pounds is still lighter than the current Nett Warrior system which is what is currently in use by the military.
While this device is only in its beginning stages, it still is a big step for our military and may have a huge impact on security and communications. We are sure the military will be able to have an excellent device ready with time.