Android to be used for U.S. Army’s Mobile Battlefield Network
Android Platform will host Government Mobile Applications in the Future
The Mobile Application Industry has yet again taken steps forward and has now expanded their influences onto the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army recently announced that they will be using the Android platform as the core foundation of their mobile framework in the future and that the Android platform will be tailored to support a range of custom-built mobile applications that soldiers will be able to use while on the battlefield. Although it is not known what these mobile applications functionalities will be, some mobile application developers and mobile application “experts” believe that mobile applications have the potential to change the way modern warfare is currently conducted.
The U.S. army is currently testing the first Joint Battle Command Platform (JBC-P) handheld device which leverages a government owned Android based framework which soldiers can use during missions of combat. At the same time, reports indicate that the Army has also assigned their Software Engineering Directorate to develop the framework of new mobile applications which will be interoperable with each other and existing mission-command systems that are deployed.
In addition to developing its own set-up mobile apps, the Army has plans to open up development of JBC-P mobile applications to the broader community of third-party mobile application developers along with a mobile/handheld CE Product Development kit in July of 2011. The goal is also for the Marines to be able to leverage the JBC-P by the beginning of 2013. This will be one of the rare times when the U.S. government will reach out to third party mobile application developers with the hopes of getting mobile apps developed for the Army and other government agencies.
During the same time of all these new developments, the Army is also currently testing prototypes for new Smartphone devices which are expected to weigh about two pounds per device. Currently the debate which many program managers are having is whether to use a commercial off the shelf Android Smartphone device or a government model Smartphone device. In the meantime, the mobile application software that is being developed is tailored to run on a variety of different Android platforms and the devices will also have the ability to communicate via different military radio networks, including the Army’s Joint Tactical Radio System as well as Marine Corp radios.
The Army is set to test these devices and mobile applications in October during a Network Integration Rehearsal hosted by the 2nd Brigade. The event will be the first in a series of four that will culminate in a Brigade Combat Team Network Evaluation at the end of 2012. The Army has already been testing the distributions of Smartphone’s with custom mobile applications to soldiers both in the classroom and on the battlefield through the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications (CSDA) project.
The mobile application industry continues to pick up steam as they continue to extend their influences to different industries/agencies at a remarkable rate. The last time there was such a demand and need like this was during the dot com boom in the 1990’s. The mobile application industry is certainly heading in the right direction as mobile application developers and mobile application development firms are seeing an increased demand for their services during these booming times for the mobile app industry. What the future holds is still unclear but one thing for certain is that it definitely looks bright for the mobile application industry and mobile application developers.