We've been watching closely as the Army transitions from the age of bulky walkie talkies to embrace the future-forward smartphone era. The transition has been rocky to say the least, but Wired reports that the Army recently, quietly rolled out an almost ready device that will change the way our soldiers communicate in the field. Spencer Ackerman explains the details at the Danger Room blog:
On Thursday morning, to a small group of reporters, the Army made it official. The End User Device is the new brain, heart and soul of Nett Warrior. It's an Android device. Nett Warrior’s ears and mouth will remain a radio--specifically, the Army's Joint Tactical Radio System. Taken together, the system will weigh less than three pounds, with more than two of those pounds coming from the Rifleman Radio.
The End User Device won't be wi-fi enabled. In fact, if the Army has its way, it won't ever connect to a civilian network. It'll hook into the Army’s brand new data nets, as well as other classified military networks. The devices themselves will encrypt data that they store; and there will be another level of encryption when transmitting or receiving data. No one wanted to say the word “WikiLeaks,” but it's obvious that data security is a big, big concern for the Army.
Ackerman also snagged a sneak peek at the device itself:
The military's decision to go with Google's Android operating system over Apple's means they won't be using any militarized iPhones. But as we mentioned earlier this week, the latest iPhones have a militarized history: the Siri personal assistant actually started out as a DARPA project.