US Army Tests iPhone, Android Deployment to All Soldiers

United States soldiers may soon be issued a smartphone alongside their MREs as part of their standard packs. The Army Capabilities Integration Center is currently spearheading a program, which is aimed at improving fighting capabilities, as well as general efficiency, by making smartphones standard issue among both deployed troops and soldiers based on home bases.

According to information received, soldiers will be given the choice of either an iPhone or an Android-based phone, along with access to an app store customized for performing their duties.

One such app has already been developed by a company, Raytheon, for testing purposes. With the application soldiers can take a picture with a smartphone and add circles and arrows before sending it back to home base, or distributing it to other soldiers in the field.

The U.S. Army plans to release smartphones similar to that available to the general public in stores. No plans are made to changing the internal components of the devices planned for soldiers, although the casings are to be ruggedized to withstand battlefield conditions.

The tests may also include other devices, such as the iPad, Kindle and Nooks. There were, however, indications that these devices may not be ideal in these types of conditions.

The Army is also looking at implementing additional technologies to support smartphones in battle, as services such as 3G may be limited in a number of areas abroad. This may mean that additional satellites may be required in order to ensure proper reception and security in almost any corner of the globe.

Whether this technology will be approved for battle conditions, or even more important operate successfully in battle conditions around the world, remains to be seen.

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