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Army Picks Android to Power Its First Smartphone

 For the Army, Droid does, all right.

The Army wants every soldier to carry a smartphone to stay networked. It doesn’t yet have a program for that, having spent the last year working through the implications of what it might mean to have such a system — like, for instance, what operating system would power it. An initial answer: Google’s Android.

A prototype device running Android called the Joint Battle Command-Platform, developed by tech nonprofit MITRE, is undergoing tests. The development kit behind it, called the Mobile /Handheld Computing Environment, will be released to app creators in July, the Army says.

But until then, the envisioned apps for the Joint Battle Command-Platform will run a gambit of Army tasks. There will be a mapping function like the kinds the defense industry is developing for soldier smartphones and tablets. A Blue Force Tracker program will keep tabs on where friendly forces are. “Critical messaging” will exchange crucial data like medevac requests and on the ground reporting.

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