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Cellphones Iphone Communications Google Handhelds The Military Apple Technology

iPhone vs. Android Battle Goes To Afghanistan 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-blood-for-apps dept.
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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iPhone vs. Android Battle Goes To Afghanistan

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  • Winner: BlackBerry! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:17PM (#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:Android (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:17PM (#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.
  • iOS has the apps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:06PM (#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.

  • by LodCrappo (705968) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:11PM (#33212090) Homepage

    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:Android (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:02AM (#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.

  • by catherder_finleyd (322974) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @08:32AM (#33214602)

    A big plus for Android is that there is already a "hardened" Android system available, the Raytheon Android Tactical System (RATS) :

    http://www.raytheon.com/newsroom/technology/rtn09_rats/index.html [raytheon.com]

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