In what I am tempted to say may be the stupidest news I've read all morning (give me an hour, though, I just grabbed my coffee), the US Army's Special Operations Command is allegedly dumping its current Nett Warrior embedded tactical smartphone solution - a 4-year-old Galaxy Note II - for an iPhone 6S. Because, and I quote DoDBuzz's source here, the iPhone is "faster; smoother. Android freezes up." Wait, you're telling me a smartphone that's four years old trying to run a specialized government app isn't very fast or stable? I am shocked, sir - simply taken aback!
This staggering conclusion has led the US Army Special Forces to decide that, after testing those same applications on an iPhone 6S - a phone benefitting from four years of technological advancement over its replacement - iPhones are simply better. Because duh, right? It couldn't be that the Galaxy Note II, announced in September 2012 and last updated to Android freaking 4.4 KitKat (an update I assume these special Army phones probably never even got, so they likely run god damn Jelly Bean), is just an old phone that, as old phones are wont to do, got slow and shitty over time. That just doesn't seem plausible.
It must be that the iPhone, specifically the 6S, just has that special something our special forces need. It is wholly and totally unlikely that four years from now operators will be maligning their iPhone 6Ss with all the colorful language they give their Galaxy Note IIs today. Certainly, they wouldn't find a brand-new Galaxy S7 edge, or the soon-to-be-announced Note7, could possibly match the speed and "clear, unbelievable" graphics (I am quoting here) of the iPhone 6S!
Here's a little challenge: maybe try those apps on an iPhone circa 2012 - say a 4S. I'm sure they'd work basically as well as the 6S, assuming soldiers could see those clear, unbelievable graphics on a 3.5" display. And they'd save a chunk of change - those things are going for like a hundred bucks on eBay tops right now.
OK, deep breaths. Actual information time: Army SOCOM (Special Operations Command) started a little initiative called ATAK - Android Tactical Assault Kit - back around 2010. ATAK is essentially an app, designed to work with the "Nett Warrior" hardware solution which featured a chest-mounted Android smartphone worn by soldiers. The app on the phone was designed to improve battlefield awareness, communication, provide general information about weapons systems and combat, and to oh maybe mark an airstrike/bombardment target or two (sort of important that this feature works, I guess). Originally, the system was tested with the Motorola Atrix (loud gagging sounds), but the Army later decided in 2013
that it didn't hate its soldiers that much to make the Galaxy Note II the official Nett Warrior device.
It now appears that the US Army Special Forces don't like their Note IIs anymore, and want shiny new iPhone 6Ss instead. Which, OK: understandable! The Note II is old, it's probably slow as dirt, and the display on that phone really was utter crap in direct sunlight (probably a concern for a phone meant to be used in combat / special ops). But the reasoning for switching to the iPhone here seems misguided at best, though I can't say that's terribly surprising in and of itself.
Maybe it's time for a #NexusArmy.
- DoD Buzz