US Army looks to equip troops with Android

The next thing that could help save lives on the battlefield is Google’s Android platform.

The Army has begun developing apps for the mobile operating system that would help both soldiers on the ground and officers planning their next strategic move.

The idea is to merge the increasingly ubiquitous Android platform with the military’s existing handheld devices so as to remain connected as much as possible.

“If we see an enemy up front, we could put it in the GPS system. Even though they (fellow Soldiers) can’t see it, you can mark it for them,” explained Hao Bui on the Army’s official website.

By opening up to a mobile widespread platform, the Army hopes it can also pull in help from third-party developers to create new apps based on the organization’s existing technology and infrastructure.

“That’s going to allow us to be interoperable across the entire family of systems of JBC-P, which would include the platforms, the aviation, the logistics community, the tanks, the Bradleys, the handhelds,” said Lieutenant Colonel Mark Daniels.

The Army plans to open up the software development kit to developers over the course of the next couple years through a series of testing phases. If all goes according to plan, Android will be fully integrated into the military arsenal by 2013.