Why the Military Needs Smartphones


Fri, Aug 8th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes visits DARPA, the Pentagon's R&D department, to see their development of a smartphone for the military. Their task is to design the equivalent of an app store filled with military software meant to run in "in hyper-secure environments, and often without a reliable network connection." The idea is to get soldiers to stop depending on "brick-sized radios and paper maps to navigate the battlefield" and instead be able to "view and manipulate maps in real time."

This was no ordinary set of fatigues, though. Strapped to the fake soldier's flak jacket was a sand-colored case, roughly the size of a lunchbox but much thinner. Once I saw the attached stylus, I knew that it was for a smartphone or tablet.

This particular case held a white Samsung Galaxy Note 1, a device that DARPA researchers would later tell me is one of their favorites. The case enables soldiers to keep both hands free, while looking down at the screen, and also plug into an auxiliary battery pack on their backs that can keep the device running for a solid week. It was all custom-built, all except for the chunk of plastic with the Samsung logo on it.



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