The U.S. Army recently launched a "prototype" (i.e. beta) version of their own civilian-facing mobile app store for Android and iOS. The Army Software Marketplace offers over a dozen training applications to be used on smartphones or tablets, with plenty more on the way. You can browse through apps on their mobile website, or download the Marketplace as a packaged app. App entries come complete with screenshots, descriptions, and download links, though there's no section to submit reviews. CIO Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence explained the Army's approach to creating this app.
"The Apps Marketplace is at the center of Army efforts to radically reduce the time to deliver applications across the force. This prototype is a first step in establishing and exercising new submission and approval processes that will eventually enable Army members, organizations and third-party developers to release applications for Army-wide distribution."
Though there's a whole array of apps that span the gamut of emergency response procedures to water well location and data to training guides, the most popular app right now is Soldier View, which offers situational awareness by way of a topographical map and recent reports in the area. You can submit fresh reports right from the app, too.
The Army has been working on incorporating Android apps into their operations for some time, though any devices issued to military personnel need to be running a modified version of the operating system to remain secure. We've even seen the Army get in on the Android hardware game in the past, but the Software Marketplace is shaping up to be fairly universal, regardless of what kind of device service personnel are using.
It's cool to see the military on the smartphone bandwagon, but it's particularly interesting that they're doing this testing right in the public eye. It seems to me like this is something they would conduct as a private beta. Anyone in the Army eager to try out the new apps?