Skip to main content

U.S. Army concludes testing of iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7, which will they decide on

The U.S. Army is just about finished with a six-week experiment in which it took iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices into the field to see which of the operating systems best suits its needs. Out of the three, two will be selected to be approved devices, and the reason behind narrowing it down was in hopes of keeping the development costs down, they won't need to ensure all three platforms have the same applications, instead just two. Both iOS and Android devices were well received by the folks, and no official word about Windows Phone 7 at this point. Will be interesting to see, will our nation put Android devices in the hands of the folks in the U.S. Army? We must wait and see.

Source: CNN: Via: WPCentral

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (opens in new tab)
Jared started off writing about mobile phones back when BlackBerry ruled the market, and Windows Mobile was kinda cool. Now, with a family, mortgage and other responsibilities he has no choice but to look for the best deals, and he's here to share them with you.
  • Awww no WebOS? Poor HPalm.
  • And no BlackBerry.
  • Isn't BB already in pretty heavy use by the military?
  • Yes, BB is the only smartphone allowed. They're also crippled so that cameras shouldn't function (if the phone has one) and the bluetooth cannot be paired with a headset.
  • I'm going to assume it will be Android and iPhone, even though iPhone is probably the worst as far as the Army being able to customize to their needs. They should just stick with Android as the open sourceness of it would cater best to their needs without having to get approval or whatever other hoops they will need to jump through using closed systems.
  • I said the exact same thing this morning on WPCentral. No OS fits thier needs perfectly, and android is the only one they can fix themselves.
  • I'm 100% sure that Android will be one of the two.
  • Maybe Android, but don't dismiss the US Gov's predilection toward having someone to blame/call on the carpet for fixes. Microsoft and Apple would both be well positioned to offer exclusive support contracts, and in MS' case, the ties run very deep. Despite several stories about the Army moving toward Open Source that have cropped up in the last 5 years, they are all baby steps. The mindset is still heavily towards closed systems.
  • WP7 is underrated, I find it being a very capable operating system
  • +1
    Indeed , the WP7 is underrated even though the platform can do what the other platforms does
    Im very tempted to get a WP7 phone (HD7) & leave Android, especially that the Moto Atrix deal I was going for fell through (Motorola phones are the rarest in Saudi Arabia, unlike HTC & Samsung , both Sensation & Galaxy S II were available here within days after there release)
  • I did what you are thinking about, I got myself an HD7 and let me tell you, WP7 is the best OS out there. I have several Android phones and I have a iOS device, everything about WP7 just works and flows together. I've installed the Mango update and had no force close like with Android. Every app works, I'm finding myself playing with my WP7 device more than I did with Android. You won't be dissappointed. In the beginning I was missing some things that Android offered like customization, but you'll get over it.
  • +1 My gf has a WP7 n likes it a lot than her Atrix.
    I'm tempted to get a WP7 as soon as a nokia device is out
  • I hope not ios, nit supporting any of the other os's but jobs will then take control over our army. He'll nuke his competitors so then he would be the only smart phone in town.
  • So I'm curious about something. Is the Army going to wait for Apple to approve every app they create? I hope not, last thing we need is for that Kandahar Maps update to get delayed while Apple figures out if it's complying with the policies. Alternatively, will they have to jailbreak every idevice in order to be able to install and update apps whenever they need it? Finally - why even bother with all of that?! Just go with Android and bob's your uncle. iDevices have plenty of positive points, and even some stuff that's clearly done better than Android, but in this circumstance I just don't see why you'd even want to bother with iOS.
    With Android you get a flexible platform that's easy to develop for. There's no need to go through any approval process at all since you just release .apk files. And as far as all the typical "ios is more user friendly and it just works" reasons for using idevices, well, since the Army will be making their own uniquely tailored apps, that shouldn't be an issue at all - either they're made well, or they're not, the OS doesn't matter.
  • Actually being a "closed OS ecosystem" would be considered a strength in this case. Do we really want our men playing Angry Birds? LOL
  • I can think of worse trouble our soldiers have gotten into when bored.
  • Now, no one get angry here; but, experience with both Operating System: If iPhone could develop applications for them to use. It would probably bet he smarter choice. As I hated iOS and still to do this day hate apple products: It's true. I never once experienced a problem with the phone. No FC or anything. However, if GOOGLE or the Military itself took Android and did whatever they wanted to it and maybe it battle tested and work 100% of the time. Android all the way. Android would definitely be the best choice if the Military, which I'm sure they could, ripped apart the OS and made the way they want and need. But, if they're going to be using stock for stock. iPhone, if does what they want, would probably be better.
  • Considering most of the governments infrastructure is built around MS, WP7 would not be a surprise final contender. The earlier statement around iOs being a closed environment is a +1 for Apple. I'm all for Android being the main platform but there are some big things that work against it.
  • It being a closed platform is both a good and a bad thing.. Considering that they'd either need to jailbreak or work out a deal with apple to quick release any and all applications / updates through some sort of expedited process if applied for by them it just doesn't work out well at all. First off they need a good way to pass these apps out to everyone using them and then be able to install them reliably, again this is where iOS runs into some issues without being jail broken etc.... Android or Windows Phone 7 make a hell of alot more sense in that light and android would be able to be tailored alot more to the army's need for sure.
  • They won't necessarily have to JailBreak IOS to load their Software in it The Federal Agencies are using IOS products load with their own Software enchantments without JailBreaking it Its a different story when it comes to the safety of the country
  • Actually, Android is a better choice for the military because its open source. The military can poke around the code for the OS to make sure there are no "back doors" or any other snooping code in there. They can lock the OS down and customize it to their needs. If there is a security problem with the OS they can issue a patch for it in no time rather then wait for Apple or MS to develop one and deploy. Also, the military can develop their own approved App market for their soldiers so A: the programs are not in the public realm B: only government approved apps are installed (read no angry birds. Can't do that on iOS unless you jail break it or Apple provides special phones that are permanently jail broken and will not loose the jailbreak after each iOS update.
  • Among other things too really. They can have beefier devices with android. Gorilla glass products etc that will be far more resilient. The overall hardware specs, extended battery packs a battery that is replaceable when needed as well.... Iphone you can use the quick charge packs on but you do end up screwed with the overall design and all battery wise.
  • I agree , but remember they wont be using a Good Ol' iPhone 4 or a Nexus S , they will be using a cutom hardware P.s. : the iPhone have Gorilla Glass
  • I'm sure Apple will find some way to sue the U.S. Army on some sort of copyright infringement.
  • We recently tried to use Android devices within our warehouse and found 2 big issues. 1 The web browser still has MANY bugs built into the OS itself that render certain programming options inaccessble. (Note: the problem does not exist in Windows devices). And we found that external hardware such as USB scanners and other devices lack drivers for Android. (Windows had 'some' but not all). In Time I'm sure Android would be the best choice, but if they have to connect these devices to existing equipment, either they will need to write drivers themselves, or be out of luck I think. I do hope they choose android however, as that would make some of these patent issues a bit more fun to watch.. "Why is Steve Jobs demanding $15 per US tank we build?"
  • Well iOS is already in there, the Army has purchased multiple iPads for the higher ups and issued iPod Touch's to the soldiers who are deployed. As far as Android and WP7 the Army is split on DOS and Linux on their devices. I also know they have made multiple apps for Android and iOS. As far as WP7 is concerned I haven't seen any apps made for them. If I am not mistaken Google was recently awarded a contract to create and manage GIS data. Also Google Earth is widely used among some of the lower tier commands for route planning and map recon of urban environments. So my guess is iOS and Android win out.
  • I agree with you , but when it comes to maps : WP7 (Bing maps) are more accurate than Google Earth\Maps (or at least here in Saudi Arabia)
  • Every OS have it advantages & disadvantages Android is easy to customize to make it fit their needs , but don't forget about the Force Closes & the Random Reboots , it would suck (& maybe kill you) if you were a solider in combat & about to call in an Air Strike only to find the device you are gonna use is rebooting! IOS isb hard to customize , but if the Army picked it , they will be able to to customize it the way they need , without interfering with Apple, just like the Secret Service , FBI , NSA , ... etc does with iPhones & iPads Windows Phone 7 tiles could be better than the IOS & Android icons (size wise) & its integrated to all Microsoft products (I.e. the Taple screen , I don't the exact name) Plus , the ARMY needs are different than ours , they need encrypted software\Hardware (Motorola for example) , we need UNencrypted versions for Custom ROMs, they need a a fully functional GPS , we can live without one (Samsung anyone) , they need Rugged Military grade phone , we need soft touch & lightweight phones Whatever platform they pick will be cutom made exclusively for them (military in general) & not available for us "civilians"
  • The general theory is that you don't want to be tied to one vendor in case of problems. Going Android alone, however, would still offer the greatest flexibility in being able to modify the OS and applications as well as being sourced by multiple vendors.
    I don't see what iOS offers at all. Still, I'd like to see what would happen when Steve Jobs tells a general that he's holding the phone the wrong way :)
  • Count me in on the WP7 dark horse pick. There's still deep Microsoft ties in the Armed Forces. If they can integrate WP7 into the mix with a certain amount of seamlessness, I see it being a strong contender. An open source platform is possible too. They were using a large number of PS3's running Linux because it met their needs, and they got pretty screwed when Sony closed off the ability to have Linux installed on the systems. I think that iOS, while capable, may be too closed off to the needs of the Army. I don't see iOS budging to meet concessions requested by the Army in their software or the ability to connect to a variety of accessories that aren't an iPod speaker dock. I think the the opening of the ADK for Android makes far more sense with the variety of accessories the Army may wish to connect to an android device.
  • I hope we get android that would be sweet. I hate going over my minutes
  • It's the government, therefor the lowest bidder will win. :)
  • unless the contractor is friends with a certain democrat senator or president... wink wink nod nod
  • Seeing the hardware similarities of wp7 and Android hardware, I think that would be hard to ignore. Common micro USB plugs are a big plus as is MS experience with networked devices and file management on a mobile platform. I would not be surprised to see iOS as the odd one out. Ever seen an iPhone that didn't eventually have a broken screen?
  • I hope Android wins, but is a touchscreen suitable army use? I don't know much about the military, but don't they wear gloves while training and in combat? Wouldn't that make the touchscreen useless?
  • You would be surprised. Something like the Casio ruggedized works well with gloves on. More on the topic though. Whichever platform is chosen, it will be locked down beyond belief.
  • I'm thinking Android and Windows Phone 7. iOS is a consumer toy OS. Android and Windows Phone clearly are designed for Business and are the only two options that actually have manufacturer's who make models with physical keyboards. While some users here may not care for them, some in the Army will and that isn't an option on iPhones. Besides, can you imagine the US Army having to get Apple to Approve their apps for use on Army phones? The Army isn't going to bend to Steve Jobs. Jobs isn't interested in business use of his toys but Google and Microsoft clearly are. Keeping an eye on this situation.
  • Whoever the US military picks will enjoy huge marketing benefits. The US army is after all known for their high-tech equipment, and the platform they choose will be boosted in the public's perception.
  • Why would the military be worried about smartphones anyway? I just dont get it...
  • Why do people working for GE, or Google need smartphones? The Army is a business, you know. Do you think we spend all our time in the woods grunting at each other? (well...I guess we do that sometimes). We do have to manage the training, logistical, medical, and administrative needs of a whole lot of people 7 days a week.
  • our boys in uniform need the porn. Android FTW!!!
  • Here's hoping that the Army specs out an Android with a better battery life!
  • Was the Dell Android Stealth 5 recalled for conversion to WP-Mango for this project? The Mango RTM date and the Dell Stealth 5 recall were close together and this would be the fastest way to having both Android and Mango in a common package with a 5-inch display and commonality of parts.