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Android Phones Go to Battlefield with US Army

 

        White Sands, New Mexico – Android-powered smartphones will help soldiers of the future discover better trails, locate colleagues and build stronger defense -- capability that just doesn't exist today.

They'll be a permanent fixture in the United States Army, officials said. FoxNews.com traveled to White Sands Missile Range in south central New Mexico, where soldiers are testing the Motorola ATRIX and the General Dynamics made Motorola GD300, as well other smartphones, radios and handhelds in a massive war game. In military vehicles, combat leaders used Motorola Xoom tablets to get a unique new look at soldiers' locations. Brigade commander Col. Daniel Pinnell said the smartphones will allow him to lead a stronger defense team.

 


US soldiers to leverage portable battlefield network and smartphones.
Photo Credit: Shanzai.com Analyzing Shanzhai Tech Culture & Gadgets

 

"Before this point I had to grab a hand mic and ask 30 people to describe to me as best they can on what piece of dirt they're on [and] what condition they're in," Brigade commander Col. Daniel Pinnell told FoxNews.com. Now he just takes out his smartphone and checks out the screen.

- Gombug.Net

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"You can basically see everybody that's on the ground. It gives us a lot of enhancement," said U.S. Army Specialist Jordan Michael Rotecki-Kennedy, who has been helping evaluate the GPS-like network.

Indeed, there's no other system like it in place. A brigade, based out of Fort Bliss, Tex., is testing the devices over the next several weeks in war-like exercises in the sweltering heat, deserts and mountains of the immense White Sands range, including practice battles and counter-insurgency operations in mock-Afghan villages. The commands are given hundreds of miles away from Fort Campbell, Ky. -- equivalent to the distance soliders would range from base during operations abroad.

 


US Army finally gets ready to take Android phones into battle.
Photo Credit: FOXNEWS.COM / PATRICK MANNING

On the field, they aren't looking for bars from AT&T or Virgin Mobile. The phones, known to the Army as end-user devices, are connected by USB to a radio system that carries voice and data on a secured network. The gadgets are far from what you'd find in a store, however much they may look the same. They work on military software called Nett Warrior developed by the Army, meaning when a soldier turns on the phone, he won't see apps or anything like a Google Maps. Instead, the Army developed its own.


Screen capture of the U.S. Army Marketplace - https://marketplace.army.mil

 

 

On Mar. 21, 2012, the Army launched the newest version of the Army Software Marketplace prototype, which delivers web-based and downloadable apps to all devices approved for use within the Army's Common Operating Environment on the Army network. "Training aids, planning tools and other apps in the Marketplace give Soldiers easy access to information we need to keep current," said Sgt. 1st Class Nanette Williams, a member of the Army Executive Communications Team at the Pentagon.

The smartphones allow the men and women on the ground to get better visuals of their surroundings. If they run into harms way, they can send texts to other soldiers, or photos of enemies to intelligence.

"Everybody in between not only understands what the soldiers sees, but then can begin to help the soldier," Col. Curt Hudson, spokesman for the Brigade Modernization Command, told FoxNews.com. The Android's batteries weigh only a quarter of a pound and last up to six hours, and a soldier can carry five of them in his pocket.



GD300 Rugged Wearable Computer: http://www.youtube.com

 

Credit: FoxNews.com

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