Army's Android OS will assist U.S. soldiers during battle

by Caitlin M. Foyt

U.S. soldiers use a lot of fancy, high-tech gadgets.

They drive underwater cars, robots called BigDogs lug around their heavy stuff, and the army is also apparently developing liquid body armor technology.

I guess that's why it was a little surprising to learn that our boys and girls in the Middle East don't yet carry around smartphones and use apps like a lot of us civilians do. The word around the Internet, though, is that these days are coming to end.

The International Business Times recently reported that the U.S. Army is currently working on creating an Android operating system for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Called the Joint Battle Command-Platform, or JBC-P Handheld, the app will allow users to pinpoint enemy locations on a GPS map for other soldiers to see, and enable them to send photos of wounds and injuries to medical staff for first aid instructions.

The Army hopes to launch the program in 2013.

One military official said the Army decided to start developing the software after catching sight of enemy forces using their smartphones as weapons against U.S. Soldiers.

"One of the most significant feedbacks you get from soldiers in theater is they look at their Afghan army compatriots or the Taliban guy, who has a cell phone," said Lt. Gen. Michael Vane. "We want to deny that capability to our own soldiers even through the enemy is using them?"

If every soldier's going to be carrying an Android phone in 2013, training had best include warnings about the dangers of texting while driving a tank.