updated 01:05 pm EDT, Fri April 22, 2011
US Army developing Android handheld platform
The US Army is developing an Android-based smartphone platform and applications to help soldiers in tactical operations. The first device as part of the effort is called the Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) Handheld. The government-owned framework it's based on, Mobile/Handheld Computing Environment, allows apps to be secure and interoperable throughout the Army's different forces, regardless of who develops them.
The platform is designed by Software Engineering Directorate in Huntsville, Alabama. The JBC-P will be used in the field by the Army and the Marine Corps starting in 2013. It will have the ability to communicate with systems in planes, helicopters, tanks and handhelds already used by the Army.
The Mobile/Handheld CE development kit will be released in July to industry developers. The Army is currently deciding on whether to use government or commercial hardware ruggedized with a tactical sleeve or case to use for the JBC-P smartphones.
Either way, the JBC-P Handhelds will support the Joint Tactical Radio System, JTRS Soldier Radio Waveform, Netted Iridium and Marine Corps radios and networks. The system will weighs about 2lbs when even when connected to a radio.
The system is said to be easy to familiarize oneself with, taking five minutes to brief and use. Among other functions, it will show the location of fellow soldiers, and soldiers can send the locations of the enemy to others in the squad and beyond. [via Defense Aerospace]