There has been a flurry of news over the past few days including the words “US Military” and “mobile Apps”
DARPA, home of the pentagon’s technology research gurus, has announced it wants to buy an “AppStore” to use for distributing mobile apps to soldiers.
This is newsworthy on several fronts:
1: DoD (department of defence) are thinking of using normal, everyday-type connectivity (3G), on normal, every-day type devices! (Android)
2: They plan on taking their own 3G coverage with them, to save relying on the possibly unfriendly locals when in far away lands
3: they have dropped both WindowsMobile and iPhone in favour of Android
4: they plan on asking the open market to bid for funding to make apps
Read those again. Bog standard kit. Mainstream networks. Open standards. Open market for apps. Wow.
A couple of days later, DoD announces the A4A (Apps for the Army) initiative to encourage software-savvy soldiers to propose and make apps (mobile and other).
There is only enough funding for 100 lucky soldiers, but this is clearly just the beginning because …
DARPA are expected to announce that they are looking to buy apps. If you have a good idea for an app, and the technology skills to make it, they might well be in the market to buy it.
“Flurry of news” is definitely the phrase, here. Until a few weeks ago I had seen hardly any publicity from the US military around mobile learning. Here in the UK, there has been a bit more, with people like Major Roy Evans who has been doing some innovative trials in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You can here him talking about it here (though you will need to ffw the first few minutes, which have no sound!)
Publicity. Nice projects. But quite small trials.
Now, all of a sudden the US has significantly upped the game and leapt for a very mainstream, and imminently achievable solution. Wow!
Bring on those Android Apps, and as Google says, “don’t be evil” :-)