In a war zone, a standard mobile phone, with its countless possible security flaws, is no use — which is why the military doesn’t rely on them. But now that’s changing, as the US military is investing in secure Android handsets.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard about the army handing out smart phones — hell, they even run competitions to develop apps. But CNN is reporting that the US military is, after two years of testing, intending to “install its custom software on commercially available phones.” It’s starting out with a custom modification of Android’s kernel. The ideas is to give fine-grained control over data, applications and information transmission, as well as providing officials with detailed usage feedback.
Interestingly, this looks set not just to be limited to the military, as CNN reports that “each version of the Android OS [will] be certified once for all federal agencies”, suggesting that these new secure Android handsets may become standard issue across the whole of the US government. That would be bad news for BlackBerry, because RIM currently provides most federal phones — even Obama’s. The new secure handsets are to be shipped out to soldiers by March for testing. [CNN; Image: U.S. Air Force]