DARPA wants military App Store for Android, 3G for battlefields

We've written about "war apps" before, but now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, aka DARPA, is getting down to the specifics on what it wants to see when it comes to marrying advanced consumer phones to the military. In an announcement yesterday, the agency made clear what it'd want a military app store landscape to look like:

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. Special attention must be paid to the apps' user interfaces and usability functions, as well as striving towards general simplicity and ease-of-use.

And before you think "there's an app for that," there very well may be if developers jump on this, but it won't be for the iPhone. DARPA has specified that the apps should be made to work on Android above all else.

Of course, you can't have a proper app store without the sweetness of 3G, which is something DARPA obviously thinks, too. The agency has mandated that "an affordable, robust, and secure mobile tactical network capability compatible with commercial smartphones will be developed."

The outline continues:

Infrastructure kits that allow for light-weight mobile base stations need to be easily deployed in multiple variants (e.g. for a large fixed site location, an outpost, a vehicle on-the-move or at- the-halt) and will be used to reach mobile dismounted users. The program will leverage, to the greatest extent possible, commercial components and standards and focus on demonstrating "good enough" solutions with appropriate security and functionality enhancements for tactical users. Non-developmental commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware should be favored when available.

Via The Register