Our good friend Matt Cox, who recently pulled up stakes at Army Times to launch into a full-on freelance career, posted an interesting piece over at our sister site DoD Buzz on the development of a battlefield smartphone.
As we reported a month ago, our boy Colin Clark talked to the folks at Boeing who are honchoing the whole Brigade Combat Team modernization (the remnants of the FCS program) and developing a tactical App Store with programs for in-processing detainees and calling in 9-lines.
One of the problems is architecture -- Droid, iOS4, Microsoft -- and Clark reported that the folks at Apple might be a bit on the anti-military side, charging $200 setup for mil-related apps.
Well, Cox reports GD has stepped into the breach by developing a combo-pocket computer/smartphone that puts in its lot with the open-source Droid OS. The GD300 is a downright brainiac of a smart phone, allowing troops to plug in their secure comm devices and flow whatever info back and forth through it.
The Android-based GD300 can be mounted on the forearm or chest. At 8 ounces, it’s a “lightweight, fully rugged device” that measures 5.8 inches long, 2.6 inches wide and .7 inches thick, Jacob said. It has a 600MHz processor and a Lithium-ion battery good for 8 hours of use.There were some interesting comments on the Buzz story, including questions of the phone's ability to hold up to abuse and whether it will have the battery life it needs for data-intensive battlefield tasks. But the biggest worry is in its security architecture...as the Army has seen from its Aircraft Wireless Intercom System, if the NSA doesn't sign off, forget it.
A simple cable will connect the GD300 to tactical radios that use software such as the Enhanced Position Locating Reporting System. Once connected, the GD300 can send and receive text messages and graphics and use situational-awareness tools such as Blue Force Tracker.