Feb 03 AT 3:02 PM Edgar Cervantes 26 Comments

US Soldiers will get Android devices updated much, much faster than yours


It is no secret that the government has been looking into secure modern mobile technology. From soldiers to the president, the government needs devices that will be able to keep all of their information private. Well, it seems like Android is the chosen one, and the government will start using smartphones like yours and mine.

The US government is planning to modify the Android OS (oh, the beauty of open source!) to make it secure enough for government use. The first to get dibs on said devices will be soldiers, but the plan is for all government officials to use smartphones at some point. And it is even mentioned that a similar software could be sold to private corporations who want to move out of BlackBerry.

So, why Android? US Officials say that they were considering other mobile operating systems. None of them were secure enough for military and government standards, though. After reaching out to Apple, the Cupertino giant gave them a big “no no” when the government asked if they could modify iOS (as expected). Since Android is open sourced, and is by nature available for everyone to tinker with, the most viable option could not be more obvious.

What is even more surprising are the statements that the sources are making public. The government is telling us that after Google releases a new version of Android, the update will be reaching these devices within 2 weeks. Now that is what we call a good update system, and we wonder if they would actually be able to pull it off.

This could mean two things; either the team working on this is stunningly amazing, or they are incredibly bad and do not know what they speak of. Android manufacturers take many months to update their devices, but with the government funding and pushing this, who knows.

The ultimate goal is to give war fighters, analysts and other intelligence professionals access to classified information on the go - boosting innovation in the field, efficiency and productivity.SpokeswomanNSA
This project is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects, and sources say that getting these smartphones in use is one of the main priorities. This will give soldiers and officials access to private documents and it will allow them to find their friendly units via GPS. These are only a couple of examples, as the government is also working on using VoIP to keep their conversations safe and private.

There is also mention of SE (Security Enhanced) Android. This is a software that is much less flexible for supporting new devices and updates. It might be the most secure option, but NSA Official Stephen Malley believes it will not be deployed widely, due to its nature.

So there you go, guys. Soon, our soldiers overseas will be carrying great devices, like they do at home. Not only that, but if the government is right, they will probably also have newer software than us. This project would not only be good for the military, every user that needs privacy would benefit from something like this. This should open a whole new market, helping Android spread even more. Think about it – Android could be the new BlackBerry.

What do you say? Do you think the government can update devices within 2 weeks of the software release?

Via: Gigaom

Source: CNN

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • WarDrake

    I don’t see why not…
    the first functional port of ICS for the SGS was out in 2 weeks, and it was 1 guy working on it…
    before you flame me, i said functional, not fully working ^_^

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

      >> The government is telling us that after Google releases a new version of Android, the update will be reaching these devices within 2 weeks.

      Sorry, I really don’t have much trust on any big organization. And, let’s put it this way. 4.0.3 has been out for more than 2 weeks, but I still don’t get it on my Galaxy Nexus.

      But if we take away the 2 weeks delivery promise, I have less doubt on the government’s ability to deploy update faster than other OEM. I bet the update will only be pushed to approved devices that are maintained by the government themselves, and you know what, I think our government won’t be so crazy to release 2 dozens of different phones in a year. Updating just a couple phones are a lot easier. On top of that, the government is not in the business of selling new smartphones, and thus, they have the incentives in keeping the old hardware updated.

      • Ismael Rodriguez

        I don’t see the 2 weeks as a realistic timeline. There may have been some leaks or AOSP tweaks made within that timeline at major version releases, but not generally 100% functional ones. With that said, being Government/Military devices, I don’t think they’d settle for anything less than complete releases, both fully updated and their security perimeters tested. I just don’t see that happening in two weeks.

        Still, it’s a nice step for Android. And I can totally see the Government/Military having their updates made a larger priority over the consumer. I can respect that. More toys for our boys.

        • http://theinternet-allofit.blogspot.com Jorge Branco

          With help from google it’d be doable. Could perhaps see them letting the military techs in on the nexus developments. Very unlikely though.

  • spazby

    US Soldiers rock

    • GRAW

      Oh and then there’s the Marines, they’re not soldiers…they’re better than soldiers, they’re Marines! Semper Fi!

      • AmericanJedi001

        Oh, right. All Marines are better than all Soldiers. Riiight…

        Are you telling me that some Marine Private who is a lazy piece of **** is better than an Army Master Sergeant working for SFOD-D? I hope not, because if you are, you’re an idiot. Please think a bit before you make sweeping generalizations.

        I’ll admit, there’s definitely plenty of Marines who are better people and better military personnel than many members of the Army, but the opposite is also true. It doesn’t matter which branch of the service you’re talking about, they all have their stud(dette)s, and they all have their dud(dette)s.

  • Thomas Biard

    Why Android you ask? Because an open platform leaves a lot of room for the military to come up with some awesome stuff for soldiers to use that works directly in conjunction with the Android platform. I wouldn’t mind some military utility apps to make it to the general public.

    Some manufacturer should come up with a new phone. The (insert brand here) GP. This would be a great throw back to where Jeep got its name. The GP could be a Mil-Spec phone with the support of military developers…oh man I should get on board with this. I’m patenting this idea!

    • dcds

      Hurry before Apples patents it. You know, the whole first-to-patent thing…

      Meanwhile, can you imagine pairing those Android phones to smart tanks powered by Arduino-on-steroids boards? I can totally see that making way into our homes… you know, sometimes it takes the military to push technology forward…


  • xavier78

    Actually…a director just asked me why we can’t get these in our office. I had to remind him that we don’t work with the military ;-)

  • Sir Alex

    Score one for the good guy.

  • Rockstar323

    The thought of a milspec Nexus just gave me a nerdgasim.

  • ralphwiggum1

    Good ol’ DARP

  • greeny42

    Be all that you can be, in the Android Army!

  • Nathan D.

    dam! If only we get updates that fast then android would be even more awesome.

  • Garrett

    The government is really big on having auto updating devices. I really do believe they could pull of that update schedule.

    For example, at our armory the computers never turn off, because they receive nightly updates. Not from Microsoft, but directly from the TAG’s office. The updates are generally the same updates that microsoft would release, or is planning to release but have been thrown together by military security specialists.

    Of course, if this is any indication of what will be happening, these units are only going to function half the time you want to use them, and I’ll have to call a 1-800 number to reset my (no shit here) 20 character password.

  • Vance

    That’s awesome! Pair this with the other article about Android powered glasses, and now you have soldiers wearing android powered head gear to identify and take out the bad guys… muahahahaha

    • Markus

      Android glasses, now with EOTECH integration!

  • Vance

    PS – I wish you had titled this differently so it made more sense what I am so giddy about when I share it on my FB wall (that being the fact that the US Government has officially selected a modified version of Android for their military mobile platform!)..

  • aranea

    Army always gets the best toys faster!

  • KC

    US DARPA has a very good and humane policy of releasing programs/innovations deemed useful/helpful to mankind, out to the general public after certain no. of years. US DEFENSE is huge and rich in resources (manpower, money, brains, etc.), and with this approach, they’ll develop apps much more innovative, faster and even better, than our Android Market developers.

    So, this is really good news. 4 to 5 years down the line, we may get free non-sensitive US DARPA apps for free. US DEFENCE will show the way forward – into the era of Star Trek and Star Wars.

    • AmericanJedi001

      Wow, some douche-bag downvoted your post? What an asshole! I liked what you had to say, because it’s true. The internet had “a little” help from DARPA, after all.

  • Hall Lo

    Awww yeah! :)

  • Rilesman

    Army already has apps on google market. Search under FA53

  • E-man

    Guess I’m joining the military after all!