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iPhone vs. Android Battle Goes To Afghanistan

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-blood-for-apps dept.

Cellphones 146

redlined writes "Cell phones are tired of waiting for the troops to come home and are going to war themselves. Tech startup Berico Tailored Systems, Lockheed Martin and apparently an army of Slashdot users are currently making tactical 3G cellular networks and smartphone applications for the military to use overseas. While DARPA has held a competition to develop iPhone and Android applications, tactically-deployable 3G networks from companies like those above should open up a slew of opportunities for Apple and Google to duke it out on an actual battlefield."

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What is the over seas data rate? and how unlocked (0, Troll)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211398)

What is the over seas data rate? and how high is unlocked / jailbreak use there?

I just hope the tropes are not on at&T there.

Re:What is the over seas data rate? and how unlock (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211590)

It looks like Berico Tailored Systems and Lockheed have built their own 3G military networks. Berico Tailored Systems web site says the data rate for their PraefectaCELL 3G is 14.4 mbps.

http://unleashbts.com/praefectacell_3g.php

Re:What is the over seas data rate? and how unlock (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211818)

At least being overseas won't effect the transfer rate of AT&T. Our soldiers will experience the same level of service that they enjoy at home in New York city.

at over X1000 times the price $20/MB vs $10/GB (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211854)

so about $20,480 a GB.

Re:at over X1000 times the price $20/MB vs $10/GB (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211992)

so about $20,480 a GB.

I suppose you think casting networks that can keep connections even though there there might be lots of bullets flying through them, or keeping signals propagating through hostile political environments is easy or cheap? Think again. These are hardened networks that can blow right through military hardened faraday cages. Let's just say if you stood between a laptop and a web page there, you wouldn't be having any more children.

Now in the app store... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211400)

War With Friends

Android (5, Insightful)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211406)

For a few key reasons:

1. Swappable battery without sending the phone back to Apple.
2. Open development
3. Custom ROMs

Re:Android (0)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211506)

1. By the time an iPhone's battery needs replacement, the phone will be out of warranty. So then you buy a new one for $6 from Meritline and pop it in yourself.

2. The military would undoubtedly set up a private app store via the Enterprise program. That way, all apps can be distributed in-house. Not sure if this is what you meant by "open development" or not.

Re:Android (4, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211560)

The point isn't about replacing the battery because of wear (though that is a plus, and the fact that you don't have to unscrew the whole damn backplate to get at it), it's about carrying a 6 pack of batteries when you're going on a mission and swapping them as needed.

Re:Android (0)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211628)

The point isn't about replacing the battery because of wear (though that is a plus, and the fact that you don't have to unscrew the whole damn backplate to get at it), it's about carrying a 6 pack of batteries when you're going on a mission and swapping them as needed.

That's your angle? You're going to carry a six pack versus a spare with a device to charge that offers multiple interfaces for charging? If you're on a mission that long, you're dead or you are in a group where you can swap out your batteries and keep your body with a few add-ons as possible.

Re:Android (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211698)

1 spare battery, or even several is a hell of a lot cheaper than a spare unit.

1 spare battery is smaller, lighter, and less prone to breakages than a spare unit.

Why give your enemy 2 devices for free if you're taken out when you can only risk one instead.

Decent android phones make their batteries last a lot longer than any iphone offering atm. ( samoled, hummingbird etc)

If you actually need to use it as a phone for any reason, you don't want an iphone.

Re:Android (1)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33213144)

Decent android phones make their batteries last a lot longer than any iphone offering atm. ( samoled, hummingbird etc)

If you actually need to use it as a phone for any reason, you don't want an iphone.

AFAIK, that's not true. The iPhone 4 seems to last 20-50% longer in most usage scenarios than pretty much any other smartphone when keeping the usage pattern constant. (See Anand's reviews [anandtech.com] for instance.) Though I have the impression that this is not due to software or hardware superiority, but due to the sheer size of its battery (made possible by being nonremovable).

Obviously, if you just want a basic phone that lasts longer than a day, you would get a basic Nokia or SonyEricsson instead of a GPS/3G/GHz-processor smartphone anyway...

Re:Android (1)

Sheen (1180801) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211716)

You do realize that its quite common to carry spare batteries for your radios/ Night vision even today?
We did at least.
What is this universal charger you speak of btw? and how does it charge stuff at night, 100% sound smell or light free?

Re:Android (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211996)

It's just a usb or iphone connector and a charged battery. No sound, smell or anything. They sell similar things for laptops (basically a pad with a battery in it). You plug it in and recharge basically. Not as convenient as just swapping batteries and closing the lid. You have to keep it connected until there enough power in the phone to work without it.

Re:Android (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212280)

What's the point if the device you're needing to charge isn't sound or light free? Just curious.

Re:Android (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#33213226)

You don't see the benefit of charging the device up during the night, when you don't want to draw attention to yourself with light or noise, so it's fully charged and ready to use for the next day, when you don't care so much about light and noise?

Re:Android (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211720)

I think the idea is that the mission has a defined length of time (ie, you won't be gone from resupply for that long) and that if the batteries last for 1/4 of your mission, 6 is enough power for the entire mission plus extra for delays or problems. You're also not dependent on recharging which takes time and depends on a battery working. With spares, you just replace a battery and if it doesn't work, you take another.

A charger might be a reasonable thing to have for very long missions or for units attached to a mechanical company of some kind. Otherwise it's time-consuming to use and doesn't solve anything if batteries have failed and won't or can't be charged. Further, the only reliable power source in the field is solar power which doesn't help the charging time or the cost of the equipment.

Re:Android (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211938)

Because missions never last longer than planned and things never go wrong.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211958)

Apparently you can't do math and realize that 1/4 * 6 != 1.

Re:Android (2, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#33213234)

A charger is also going to be bulkier than a spare battery, so you either have to give it to one guy in the unit to carry and risk losing it if anything happens to him, or you give chargers to several soldiers and increase the weight of kit the unit is carrying unecessarily. The beauty of spare batteries, like spare rounds, is that everyone can carry one without adding much weight, and assuming everyone's using a compatible device you can get a replacement from anyone else in the unit, you're not putting your eggs in one basket.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211874)

[sarcasm] Because, you know, it's always 100% positive that you will have time to plug it in. I mean, those military guys do nothing all day anyhow, right? [/sarcasm]

Then the iPhone is better suited (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211710)

The point isn't about replacing the battery because of wear (though that is a plus, and the fact that you don't have to unscrew the whole damn backplate to get at it), it's about carrying a 6 pack of batteries when you're going on a mission and swapping them as needed.

So if you're that worried about power, you'd take the device with better battery management - the iPhone.

And of course you can use a charging case or external charger to refill as needed. Which takes the same space as your external battery...

Re:Then the iPhone is better suited (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33212004)

Wow. Just wow.

Please promise me that you'll never spec or produce hardware for the military.

What good is that when there's NO electricity!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33212534)

> So if you're that worried about power, you'd take the device with better battery management - the iPhone.
> And of course you can use a charging case or external charger to refill as needed. Which takes the same space as your external battery...

Exactly which electrical outlet do you plan to charge your iPhone from? Exactly where are you going to find a USB port to get power from in the wilderness? The point of carrying six battery packs is for going places where you *have no electricity* at all.

Sorry, but battery management is good, but being able to carry more packs makes it irrelevant for situations where you *cannot* recharge.

Re:What good is that when there's NO electricity!? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#33213250)

I'd even query the better battery management - my Desire doesn't seem any better or worse than my GF's 3GS, but the Desire is known as a battery hungry phone so that's no great recommendation, and there are plenty of Android phones that are much bettery in terms of battery life. The ability to micromanage the phone's resources to a finer degree than the iPhone would probably help here, too.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211762)

The point isn't about replacing the battery because of wear (though that is a plus, and the fact that you don't have to unscrew the whole damn backplate to get at it), it's about carrying a 6 pack of batteries when you're going on a mission and swapping them as needed.

Or just use USB batteries and have that many fewer points of failure on the phone.

Re:Android (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212414)

There are open source battery chargers for iPhone at adafruit [adafruit.com] for 19.95. Someone had to figure out a slightly unusual set of resistors on the cable pins to get by Apple's obfuscations but it is known technology now. Kind of a tradeoff between having a phone that is better sealed (the iPhone) you have to charge from an external pack, or swap batteries on Android. As I recall the original knock against one of the early Android phones was the the battery cover kept falling off.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33212264)

Simple fact:
Li-Ion battery traditionally are not to be recharged above 45C which can easily be reached in those area.

There is a recent Japanese specs for charging batteries between 45C and 60C at reduced charge rates and reduce terminal battery voltage for charging. I don't think it would fully charge the battery.

Note:
I spent a lot of time understand Li-ion charging spec to implementing in a microcontroller.

Re:Android (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211508)

Android is for faggots.

Re:Android (0, Offtopic)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211514)

Android is for faggots.

Please join our new facebook group - Fags for Android!

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33213152)

The iPhone is gay

Re:Android (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211518)

It's all about quality of build. Something to endure the conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I love my iphone but I think the ideal scenario would be the deployment of some custom hardware on the battlefield with Android. Sand gets in everything.

Winner: BlackBerry! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211532)

Despite the hype, BlackBerry still has a bigger market share than Android and iPhone.[1] Besides, the BlackBerry's keyboard has better tactile feedback than Android/iPhone touch screens, which is important for combat operations.

[1] http://gigaom.com/2010/08/02/android-sales-overtake-iphone-in-the-u-s/

Re:Winner: BlackBerry! (2, Insightful)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211580)

Yep, there is simply no substitute for tactile feedback when it comes to a good UI. Touch-screens are great -- in ADDITION to buttons, not instead of.

Right - far more secure! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211726)

The best idea is to have all your battlefield communications going through the BES server in Canada. Better hope it doesn't accidentally route through Saudi since that's closer!

Re:Winner: BlackBerry! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211864)

...And how many of the BlackBerry users really -like- BlackBerry OS and didn't just pick a BlackBerry because it was cheap, their company bought one or the like? BlackBerry OS is aging, and although its rather irrelevent for the military, just compare a simple cross-platform app like Facebook, the iPhone has the best quality app, next Android (especially since the last update) then WebOS, then WinMo and BlackBerry OS.

The iPhone would be the worst out of all of them because it comes with only a single form factor, the BlackBerry hardware is decent but lets face it, the fact it reroutes a lot of traffic to non-military servers would be a problem not to mention the OS problems. Android can be made in multiple form factors, as could WinMO but until WinMO comes out with version 7... it completely sucks. Even PalmOS (yeah, the old one running on like the Palm Centro) is more usable than Windows Mobile.

Re:Winner: BlackBerry! (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212760)

Despite the hype, BlackBerry still has a bigger market share than Android and iPhone.[1]

Not for long, according to your own citation [gigaom.com] . Just looking at the graph you referenced, it seems Android is poised to overtake RIM in the US by next quarter.

Re:Android (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211558)

1. Swappable battery without sending the phone back to Apple.
2. Open development
3. Custom ROMs

1. Actually, a swappable battery means another latch/compartment to get dirty, broken, wet, or damaged. The ideal device would be hermetically sealed. Barring that, as few ports/hatches as possible.
2. What restrictions do you think the Army has on apps they distribute?
3. No, but yes. Custom hardware (not ROMs) is the key to Android's future in the Army. If you need to take out the radio or camera for security restrictions, add a hardware switch for any features, put a glove-friendly touchscreen on, ruggedize, or otherwise customize the hardware it's possible with Android and impossible with Apple.

Re:Android (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211756)

1: The battery compartment can be attacked with thumb screws that tighten down a compressed rubberized seal when attaching it. That would give it similar properties to being hermetically sealed once the battery is in place. You could also make the entire battery compartment modular in so that it can be easily swapped out if something does get broken with normal filed tools a soldier would have at his disposal.

Of course this would require making a special phone which is what the purpose of using existing phones were supposed to avoid. However, there are enough situation that a civilian market for the same robust phones could be profitable.

On the other hand, if battery recharging is the objective of a removable battery, then a rapid charger could probably be build into batteries or a pack to hold the batteries in which it could be attached to the phone for a couple of minutes and transfer a full charge. Lets assume a soldier would carry 4 batteries plus the one in the phone into battle or on patrol to last three or four days without access to anything to recharge with. Instead of placing them into a zip lock bag, simply create a cradle that holds the batteries and protects the phone while it's not in use, then have it constantly transferring power to the phone so it always have a full charge when needed. It might even be possible to use the cradle as a signal booster in the case of an emergency too. (by emergency, I mean calling the wife after being shot, of course they would use the real equipment for getting help unless this replaces some of the bulkier radios).

Re:Android (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211780)

You stupid twat. You can seal around a battery. Just 'cause the internals can be replaced doesn't mean you can't work around it. ROMG, SAUDER THE DAMNED THING TOGETHER OR MELT THE METAL TO METAL.

Idiot.

Re:Android (5, Insightful)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211816)

1. Actually a removable battery is very important and you have completely missed the operational reason. Soldiers carry a bunch of equipment which use batteries (NVG's, LRF's, NAD's, Radio's, Illuminated sights, not to mention simple things like torches etc...) and it's important they all (where possible) use the same type of batteries. Simply put, if the battery in my Night Vision Goggles die and I have run out of spares, I want to swap the battery from my phone into my NVG, since it's more critical piece of equipment for my current task. Soldiers are entirely capable of keeping their kit free of dust & grime (I'm capable of stripping down an m4 to the ejector claw without getting dust through it, why wouldn't I be able to manage a phone?)

Re:Android (0)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212728)

Simple just get a holder for the iPhone which accepts this battery, and charges the device at the same time. I am sure they will come with holders anyway, whichever device they get, to ruggedize the devices. There are already plenty of cases outthere that include a built in battery.

This is not an issue. Custom ROMs maybe, but not this.

Re:Android (0, Troll)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211820)

Considering the dismal battery life on the droid phones I would say yes, having a swappable battery on them is a must.

Re:Android (1)

sponga (739683) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212060)

A 'Pelican Case'; they are sealed and even waterproof ones for all different kinds of phones with rubber padding inside.
Oh yeah and as a side note 'Pelican Cases' are one of the last companies I have found that actually produce their stuff in America in Fullerton, CA I think. Great product if you work in a tough environment or ever go on a several day hike.

I don't care about looks but I just bought a 2500mAh battery and it is huge now, but I can have brightness on max, gps/wifi/bluetooth/browse and talk all day long on it

Re:Android (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212678)

2. What restrictions do you think the Army has on apps they distribute?

Ok, I'll try to answer that one:

1. Full device encryption, which some of the Android ROMs provide, but which the iPhone Enterprise-level ROMs do not (as of yet!). Not to mention custom hardware that you just mentioned, which will probably never be doable with the iPhone.

2. A device that's second sourced. In other words, the Department of Defense doesn't want to be solely dependent on one company (one-point-failure) to supply its critical infrastructure. In the case of Intel for instance, Intel had to train to a certain level and license some of its core technology to its arch enemy AMD so that it could be able to win the very lucrative government contracts that the Department of Defense was doling out. This is one of the main reasons that the military is credited for having started the computer revolution. It was not just the funding that was important, it was ultimately the strings that were attached to those funds.

3. The idea that the phone shouldn't be manufactured in Mainland China (for fear of a Chinese back-door). Thus far, only a few of the Android phones meet that criterion. The iPhone doesn't.

4. Standard parts that can be found, swapped, hacked, replaced, and repaired locally (without going against the terms of the license if they were to buy non-approved OEM parts that were just as good as the original but way-way cheaper than non-Apple batteries). And by locally, I don't mean Paris or the UK. I know we can find iPhone headphones over there.

5. Easy to develop on. Again, another clear win for Android. It's not just easier to code on, cut and paste examples, and just make them work with some tweaking (unlike the iPhone), Google is also Beta testing 'App Inventor', a visual IDE which lets you build Android applications visually while the code gets generated in the background.

6. Not being tied to the various whims and moods of Steve Jobs such as: "You May NOT Use iTunes To Design, Manufacture or Produce Nuclear, Chemical or Biological Weapons". I doubt that such a clause would bother the Army, but at least with Android, Google didn't put their "Do no Evil" clause in their terms and conditions. In fact, it's a given that since Flash is allowed to run on Android, it means that "Doing Evil" is clearly allowed.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211562)

1. Swappable battery without sending the phone back to Apple.
2. Open development
3. Custom ROM

1. We don't give a fuck.
2. We don't give a fuck.
3. We don't give a fuck.

Give us something so easy to use so that even an Army grunt can figure it out. There's your winner.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211586)

You would definitely give a fuck if your batteries ran out on an excursion and you didn't have any way to charge your current one.

You'd give a big, big fuck.

Re:Android (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211872)

"You would definitely give a fuck if your batteries ran out on an excursion and you didn't have any way to charge your current one.

You'd give a big, big fuck.
"

Not at all. See, we don't rely on cellular phones to coordinate things out in the field. That's why we carry things like the PRC-117 [wikipedia.org] or PRC-152 [harris.com] which can last for days and days out in the field. Those are the main forms of communication. When a patrol is done, the last thing we want to do if fuck around with a phone after spending 30 minutes clearing COMSEC and doing radio checks for the next shift. We just want to text loved ones, check email and relax. So no, whether it's a FOSS phone, open for development or whatever - no one cares. Just make it easy to use.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211822)

Everything you said is wrong.
You don't have to send the phone back to Apple to change the battery.d
Development for these purposes would be using Eclipse vs XCode not some script kiddie tool like Flash.
Apple has a different development program for corps that's does not have to go through app store approval which you obviously don't know.
Custom rooms? Do you know what COTS means?

Apple has by far the edge in security and provisioning.

Re:Android (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211998)

Which is why Android will win. Instead of getting a phone that will work from Apple, and having standard charging stations, and a sealed device, the military will send out a ten billion dollar contract to develop and purchase a million android phones. The military contractors can survive on legitimate business, so depend on these overly complex solutions to simple problems.

Which is what Apple is. It provides a reasonable simple solution to a problem. Android is trying to make the problem more complex so it can provide a complex solution.

Here is the thing. The military spends a lot of time in sand now a days. So much so that Velcro is a thing of the paste. Sealed is in. The military wants control of hardware. Apple provides a level of control that Android does not. Android with it's random Apps only leads to data leakage.

Re:Android (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212596)

Huh? What is complex about Android? Especially comparing it to IOS4? The random apps would presumably be disabled as I imagine the military would do the provisioning. There are companies that already make ruggedized phones and putting Android on them is a snap so you're talking about very little modification that needs to be done and then you gain full smart phone capabilities like remote controls, signals analysis in the field, or really anything you can imagine.

I just don't see Apple being that agile, they would have to retune their production to make said phone while other companies already have the facilities. I don't think it could even be profitable for them unless they way the hell overcharge but that wouldn't be too unusual for the military. Mil-spec stuff is crazy expensive. I buy a bit of it for all the electronics I travel with including entire servers. We aren't military but we land, and can provide services to thousands in a matter of days or less if logistics are well planned out.

Re:Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33212082)

For a few key reasons:

1. Swappable battery without sending the phone back to Apple.
2. Open development
3. Custom ROMs

4. No bloated software (like itunes) required to load apps on to the phone.

Re:Android (1, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212278)

3. Custom ROMs

Why do people keep reiterating this myth?

It's a myth because while Android is open-source, it the ROMs aren't "open". Yes you can build an Android image from the source code, but it isn't the same as what your phone runs - with all the extra stuff like "With Google" (Android Marketplace, Goggles, Maps, Mail, etc.) and the UI cutomizations. The stuff you get with the open-source don't include that. It's why Google went after the modders to not distribute ROMs with their stuff on it.

And if you really want to get down to it, Windows MObile had custom ROMs (xda-developers was original doing WinMo stuff). You can also argue that the pre-jailbroken IPSW's for iPhone are also "custom ROMs" because you load them in using the ROM update utility of iTunes.

And while early Android phones were easily moddable to load in custom ROMs, later ROM revisions often removed the ability to root the phone, and also the ability to replace the ROM. People complain the Droid X won't allow custom ROMs as if that's a bad thing, but it's just a return to the norm.

Android being open-source means squat to generating an OS image and running it on your phone. Sure there are phones that let you do it (Android Dev Phones, for example) but consumer phones aren't supposed to have that ability. Right now we've been lucky.

All Android being open-source means is that anyone who wants to make a phone has an OS they can use royalty free. It still requires a LOT of work to make it production ready, and if you want "with Google" stuff, you have to join the OHA (not easy) and license the code for that, as well. What's interesting in Android is the stuff that isn't in the repository - it's really pretty much the status quo as those who are in the field know what pieces are missing and can write them, while Joe Garage Hacker thinks he can whip out a phone but doesn't realize a lot of important (and valuable) pieces are missing.

Now, that said, the DoD can easily design an Android phone that meets their specs and have one of the many ODMs actually do the Android porting to put Android on it. The iPhone, not so much.

Outsourcing (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211408)

So we're outsourcing our flame wars now as well?

Re:Outsourcing (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211472)

Im trying not to think of the consequences of Macrumors teaming up with Taliban.

Post-war Afghan interrogation (-1, Troll)

Centurix (249778) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211470)

Interviewer: Tell me how you knew where our troops were!

Afghan soldier: Easy! Your pig-dog American soldiers pass wind more than anyone else! We can hear you from our evil caves!

Re:Post-war Afghan interrogation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211530)

Afghan soldier:

U.S. et al. is fighting alongside Afghan soldiers, not against them

Re:Post-war Afghan interrogation (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211570)

Thanks.

s/Afghan/Evil/

Man, offtopic. Fart apps people, fart apps.

Re:Post-war Afghan interrogation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211646)

Anyone who fights along side the occupation force is not a soldier but an imperialist lackey.

Re:Post-war Afghan interrogation (0, Flamebait)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212044)

U.S. et al. is fighting alongside Afghan soldiers, not against them

Well that clears that one up.

Tell the lad's down in logistics to stop sending bullets, apparently we aren't fighting Afghani's any more.

Listen here boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211476)

War ain't a game, son.

Re:Listen here boy (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211598)

Diein' ain't much of a livin' boy...

I just wonder... (0, Flamebait)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211496)

whether they had to ask Steve if he'll let them install these iPhone apps on other soldiers phones.

Not surprising to me... (5, Informative)

DSS11Q13 (1853164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211500)

Actually, you would be surprised at how much 3g coverage there some spots in in the Middle East, or at least Edge network. I did a lot of volunteering in the Palestinian Territories...in the wilderness and desert. While I didn't have a 3g smartphone I had my Kindle with me, and I never once lost 3g coverage. Here is a map of the Kindle coverage which should give at least a general idea http://client0.cellmaps.com/tabs.html#cellmaps_intl_tab [cellmaps.com] Frankly I'm surprised they haven't set up these networks already, especially for military ops.

Re:Not surprising to me... (-1, Troll)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211546)

If you are in the military and are surprised that they aren't setting up systems via an uncontrolled 3G network, get the fuck out.

Re:Not surprising to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211788)

Military? No. Volunteering in PA.

Re:Not surprising to me... (1)

MacroMegaMan (819087) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212516)

Two words: Data Encryption...

Re:Not surprising to me... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211828)

There was an article a while back stating that because it was cheaper in these rural third world or out of the way areas to build out cell coverage instead of rolling out and maintaining copper, that most governments were working towards that instead of building traditional pots lines.

This is why you probably had such good coverage. However, had you strayed from a village very far on a minor road, you probably would have seen quite a few outages.

As for setting up these networks for military ops, while not getting into the need to monitor or restrict communications in the field, we have the problem of the Taliban destroying the existing cell towers. This was covered in the article as why something like this would be useful in Afghanistan.

Re:Not surprising to me... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212070)

Actually, you would be surprised at how much 3g coverage there some spots in in the Middle East, or at least Edge network.

You'll also note that new wired networks are becoming more rare. No point in seeding exchanges and laying 100's of KM of copper for DSL or even land line phones when you just set up 3G towers. In many places in the 3rd/developing world it's cheaper and easier to deploy a cellular network then it is to try to establish a landline network. Especially as quality isn't as much of a concern. Africa is like this, even Asia once you get out of the big cities.

Rich countries like Japan, Sweden and Australia (provided Jesus Boy doesn't ruin it) can afford to lay out next gen fibre networks to houses. For poorer nations it's cheaper and easier to drop 3G towers everywhere then to roll out old copper networks and get the same net effect (phone and internet to the majority of people)

Re:Not surprising to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33212500)

No point in seeding exchanges and laying 100's of KM of copper for DSL or even land line phones when you just set up 3G towers.
...
In many places in the 3rd/developing world it's cheaper and easier to deploy a cellular network then it is to try to establish a landline network.
...
For poorer nations it's cheaper and easier to drop 3G towers everywhere then to roll out old copper networks and get the same net effect

I don't quite get what point you're trying to make.

Army; not DARPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211516)

That competition article is about the Army sponsored application competition. Not DARPA.

Type 1 Encryption? (1)

superid (46543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211604)

Let me know when the devices are approved for type 1 encryption. THAT will really make them useful in the battlefield.

Re:Type 1 Encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211736)

http://www.gdc4s.com/content/detail.cfm?item=32640fd9-0213-4330-a742-55106fbaff32

Carry it next to your heart (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211616)

Choose your network wisely (1)

correnos (1727834) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211630)

"We need air support at coordin *call dropped*

I wonder if the service provider *cough at&t cough* would be liable for troops' lives.

From a soldier... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211642)

Short, easy answer: Android.
Long, easy answer: Android phones because they have changeable batteries, textile keyboards (keep in mind that most of us wear gloves, rendering most touch-devices useless), can be loaded on any hardware we want, supports text-based passwords instead of PINs, uses a standard USB connection, are generally cheaper, and don't look as civilian-esque as some Android phones (see Droid, Droid X).

Re:From a soldier... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212740)

Ha ha ha ha, have you ever tried typing on one of those keyboards with gloves on? Do not be ridiculous. Would be easier to get a coating on your gloves to work on a touch screen, and have the app present nice big buttons, or support gestures.

Changeable battery can be good or bad, and the iPhone supports changeable batteries with an external case.

Not sure locking mechanism is that important but hey, maybe it is.

Who cares how they look?

Nig6A (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211644)

today. It'S About

Great marketing angle (1)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211668)

I don't drive a Hummer - so why would I give a shit what the military uses?

There's an app for that... (4, Funny)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211772)

Need to look up the best way to get a Humvee out of a mud pit? There's an app for that. [ambrosiasw.com]

Need to find the nearest supply depot while avoiding roadside bombs and enemy fire? There's an app for that. [nextgov.com]

Need to see the location of every friend and foe within a 100m radius without any additional devices or infrastructure? There's an app for that. [wikia.com]

Re:There's an app for that... (2, Funny)

Stile 65 (722451) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212462)

Need to find Osama bin Laden? There's an app for that. [foursquare.com]

The truth about the iPhone 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211810)

Without the protective case, you get no cell service.

Problem with the iPhone 4 (0)

rshxd (1875730) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211846)

You mess that case up, you can't make an emergency phone call because their antenna sucks

iphone sucks $20,480 a GB for att data and unlocki (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211876)

iphone sucks $20,480 a GB for att data and unlocking is apple NO NO maybe the army can get apple to unlock that part and maybe let them load there own I os as well.

Wikileaks submission app? (1)

cowbud (200323) | more than 4 years ago | (#33211894)

So does this mean we will get video directly from the battlefield to wikileaks? :D

"only so much money to spend" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33211990)

I love the last line of the first article "But the military has only so much money to spend". Yeah, *only* $600 billion. Sheesh. Poor bastards.

iOS has the apps (5, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212062)

The good/great ballistics apps are on iOS, so I reckon it has the general edge.

http://isnipe.webdiligence.ca/ [webdiligence.ca]
http://www.knightarmco.com/bulletflight/ [knightarmco.com]
http://ballistic.zdziarski.com/ [zdziarski.com]

There are a couple for Android, but they aren't as good as iOS has.

Re:iOS has the apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33212506)

What's the chance that the army is going to use an existing app instead of doing it themselves? The algos are obviously not unavailable to them, and they'll want something that meets their specific needs and that doesn't requiring trusting some unknown party.

an open platform matters (5, Interesting)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212090)

If the military wants a device that meets certain physical specifications (ruggedness, waterproofing, shielded from EMI, bulletproof, god knows what) then they have very different options with an iPhone vs an Android phone:

With Apple's platform, they must ask Apple nicely and hope for the best. They would have to rely on a single source for the devices.

or

With Android, they can publish their specs and let any manufacturer that cares to try build a device (or contract with one or a few to specifically build something). They can have multiple sources for the hardware and switch as desired.

Similarly, if the military wants specific features in the operating system, they can:

Ask Apple nicely and hope for the best

or

Modify Android any way they'd like, or contract pretty much anyone to do this for them.

Seems Android has some pretty clear advantages.

Re:an open platform matters (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212744)

Or they can get a case, which is what they would do. It could have a built in battery.

This is how the use devices currently over there, for sniper assistance and such.

Oh hai people! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212126)

I was thinking of finally buying a cell phone. Any recommendations?

Veteran's perspective (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33212176)

I served in Afghanistan. All these discussions on bullet proofing are irrelevant. Many of us carry cameras that are no where near water proof or bullet proof. We just put them in small little water tight cases on us. It wouldn't be bad for usage on a COB or FOB but out in sector it could be a security issue. (Light and noise discipline and personal sectors of fire not being watched) I pulled guard with someone who was using his phone to text and call back home in sector on our COB. His roaming charges were fucking ludicrous! Still it would be nice to see it implemented for down time instead of waiting for USO or SPAWAR computers or phones to reach loved ones. Although Afghani's sold us Afghan shitty phones that reached home just fine.

I bet al queda hope for Iphone. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212396)

Considering the trucksized security holes in IOS i bet US enemies hold their thumbs and hope for Iphone. Imagine commandering your enemy troops through a web interface? :D

Sounds like a great defense contract (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212438)

I am not a soldier. Not now, not never.

With that said, if I were a soldier, and could have one multi-tool digital device, it would include:

  • All the standard stuff you find on "phones" now. GPS, compass, maps, web (or some military grade version of the web)
  • Whoop ass battery. Make it easy to change and put a carabiner on it along with a built-in solar panel so I can clip it to my pack and charge a spare during the day.
  • Rugged, of course.
  • Avalanche beacon type functionality. Not necessarily for an avalanche, but integrate that with an app to track nearby allies.
  • Secure, secure, secure. No off the shelf software, custom stuff that others will have more difficulty getting their hands on. Especially if it falls into enemy hands. Remote kill switch possibly?

The software will end up being the key. The hardware is already there (maybe except for the whoop ass battery). Useful apps that make life easier. It's not supposed to replace current military communication channels, it just augments them. I am sure the military would love soldiers to have a digital leatherman.

Re:Sounds like a great defense contract (1)

MacroMegaMan (819087) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212502)

I have been a soldier, and have had more than my share of fun in Iraq. A cell phone like this would really have been invaluable while I was there, providing a good way for squad leaders to relay encrypted messages to their troops, if nothing else. The other functions you describe are well within the realm of possibility with current technology. I hope they field some system like this soon, as it's sorely needed.

I expect even more. (1)

imshrunk (1875820) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212474)

Hey, Not only battle fields. I even would like to see the development of such devices to reach every inch of the glob. I like to go for an expedition like Survivor man. But the concern was about the communication, since; I can't be like the survivor man. If this development comes, then anyone can try their luck to enjoy their expedition. However, what we read was a step forward for sure. Thanks for sharing.

Tactical 3G? (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212498)

What do they use tactical 3G networks for? Tactical tweeting?

Remote holes (1)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 4 years ago | (#33212646)

You seriously want to put a phone that has a history of remote vulnerabilities on a battlefield?

Damn American Imperialism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33213130)

and any corporation or company that supports it.

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