US Army wants soldiers to have advanced smartphones, wireless technology

05.07.2011

But the Army says it doesn't want to be picking a single winner. One way envisioned to achieve smartphone heterogeneity involves using a software HTML-based framework that Army developers came up with that allows for writing smartphone once so they run on multiple smartphone operating systems. It's hoped this would eliminate the need to write apps multiple times for various smartphone operating systems, says McCarthy.

"We're trying to stay device and OS agnostic," he says, adding that the Army's aspiration is to "buy the right phones for the right people for the right reason."

The Army anticipates turning to both the commercial sector and its own Army developers for the apps the military may need. Developers at Fort Lee some time ago came up a couple hundred logistical apps for both Google Android and the Apple , while army specialists at Fort Bliss have written about two dozen tactical applications, including variants on a medical-evacuation request.

Tests have shown that the speed of filling out medical evacuation forms can be reduced from 15 minutes to 1.5 minutes using smartphone capabilities, says McCarthy.

If smartphones do end up being used in military operations by soldiers, these devices could end up being "as important to them as their weapon," McCarthy suggests. At the same time, there's also the notion that if smartphones were lost or damaged, there would be a way to treat them as scrapped and move on to a new one. And because smartphones use touch screens, the Army might need to find different gloves for soldiers than the ones generally used today.