Army Eyes Samsung smartphones
The U.S. Army this year plans to begin buying Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphones for some infantry soldiers, pending approval from the Defense Department, according to a program office.
To date, the service has purchased more than 1,700 Motorola Atrix smartphones as part of a retooled acquisition program known as Nett Warrior. The devices can be connected by cable to handheld radios made by General Dynamics Corp. to display secure information, such as troop movements, the location of roadside bombs, even text messages. A brigade in the 10th Mountain Division will be the first in the Army to use the new combat radio system in Afghanistan this spring.
Both the Atrix and the Galaxy Note II run the Android operating system made by Google Inc.
The Army wants to switch to the Galaxy Note II, made by South Korea-based Samsung Group, in part because it has a bigger screen and faster processor for a similar price. The shift reflects the service’s new approach for buying communications equipment, in which it seeks commercial, “off-the-shelf” products that can be modified and tested for military use, rather than spending larger sums of money developing unique hardware.
“Our agile approach includes procuring soldier-evaluated commercial products more frequently,” Bill Brower, deputy project manager for Soldier Warrior, the office within PEO Soldier that oversees the Nett Warrior program, said in an e-mail. The process ensures soldiers receive the latest technology at the lowest cost, he said.