Mar 6th, 2010

DARPA_logoWe’ve talked before about Android being used by the military – last time it was Raytheon developing mission critical apps but now DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has unveiled a proposal seeking Android applications for use on the battlefield and in disaster situations. Take a look at how the proposal calls out Android specifically:

DARPA is seeking applications to fill a diverse set of needs, including the tactical battlefield, humanitarian missions, disaster recovery, and other mission areas. Example functionalities include command and control, reporting, mission planning, intelligence/ surveillance/ reconnaissance, real-time collaboration, geospatial visualization, analysis, language translation, training, and logistics tracking. For the initial implementation, all apps should target the Android platforms. Special attention must be paid to the apps’ user interfaces and usability functions, as well as striving towards general simplicity and ease-of-use. While some apps will function without network access (except for occasional synchronization or updates), other apps may require more consistent network connectivity. For apps that rely heavily on network connectivity, the emphasis must be placed on minimal bandwidth consumption and application robustness in spite of frequent network disconnection. In all cases, any server infrastructure requirements needed to support the apps should be included as part of the proposal.

This is a brilliant example of why Android shines over other platforms. Free and open, 3rd parties can take the power of Android and adapt it to the specific needs of their company, organization or agency. In this case, defense agencies can unlock features like GPS location, messaging, inventory systems, real-time updates, and more to develop applications that help save lives.

I’m not sure we’re likely to see the RESULTS of this proposal – a lot of it is probably behind the scenes stuff and even this proposal hasn’t been discussed much on the front lines of the media – but I think it’s awesome nonetheless and deserves its time as an example of why Android should be praised beyond “wow my phone is awesome”.