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The US Army is working on plans to issue every one of its soldiers with a smartphone – either an iPhone, Android device or perhaps even a "Palm Trio" [sic]. Windows 7 was not mentioned. The Army Times reports on the military smartphone plans, which have been rumbling along for a while now in various forms. Some US units have …

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Coat

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A G-iPhone perhaps?

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Airstrike? There's an App for that

Bet I am not the only one to come up with this. Oh well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Airstrike? There's an App for that

That explains the US' accuracy then... Big squashy GI fingers of retina displays!

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Will every soldier...

...have to shell out for the mandatory £10 top up too?

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Security?

How will the army provide security for the phones? Since many of them contain GPS, couldn't enemies hack into it and find your location.

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Happy

Not to mention..

I imagine in the world of Assange/Wikileaks, it will save the soldiers the hassle of taking a CD-R into the server room..

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Anonymous Coward

dont think so

Given that GPS is a one way system they would need to install software to the phones then transmit a signal to the number then get a reply with the location, me thinks nope on that one.

more likely they could use some simple trig to triangulate the location from the carrier signal, you can encrypt the contents but it will always give your location away if you have more than one listening post as all comms requirer a carrier wave..

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IT Angle

Presumably they will still all have to go through iTunes?

As the title says.

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Title

I think the soldiers would be a lot more happy if they were issued with some decent combat armour before being sent off to the other side of the world to deliver freedom and democracy to the poor backward and oppressed citizens of Whereverstan.

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Stop

I'm guessing they will end up with WinMo7 phones

Are there is a mighty big warehouse of unsold phones somewhere and Microsoft must be keen to shift them on at firesale prices...

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Flame

Why Aren't They Issued a Flight Ticket Home ?

That would be the most effective way of dealing with a population who likes their fighters so much that they support them with whatever they can.

For example the "Oppressed Afghan Women" were not willing to tip off that their "oppressors" had buried a heavy mine in their village weeks ago and detonated said mine when a armoured car of the Bundeswehr came along.

The car was disabled and then shot at from all directions out that "Village of Opressed Afghan Women". Only an Anti-Tank-Missile could rescue the unit from complete annihilation by heavy afghan machine guns.

End result: three German soldiers dead for the sake of NOTHING.

Get out. NOW. Even if it offends Langley and they call us Nazis.

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Anonymous Coward

"dead for the sake of NOTHING"

And you think the World-Wide Caliphate nutters are nothing (or as you might say, "nossing")?

They came for the good people of Stockholm, but I saw nossing, for I am not Swedish.

They came for the tube passengers of London, but I heard nossing, for I am not British.

They came for the cartoonists of Denmark, but I said nossing, for I am not a Dane.

Etc. Etc. (Brecht must be spinning).

Act, and think, globally.

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Anonymous Coward

@And you think the World-Wide Caliphate nutters are nothing

That's right, they are nothing. It's the hysterical over reaction to a few mad bombers that struck lucky on a couple of high profile spectaculars from people like you that make them into something. Invading foriegn countries on bullshit pretexts just legitimises them.

How much of the billions of $ wasted on military adventures like Iraq and Aghanistan could have been saved by concentrating on the disappearingly few that actually might pose a threat inside our own countries.

Of course that wouldn't be half as lucrative for the weapons manufacturers and politicians would it?

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I Can spell TH and We Also Have Proper Police Here

I suggest you Americans hire and proper train non-retarded Police and Visa officers, lock down the borders and the problem goes away. Do you seriously think that you can meddle with the civil wars of Somalia, Yemen, Crackistan ? Because they are now also "harbouring terrorists".

At least before 9/11 American airline security was a bad joke. Your air force didn't know how to immediately terminate an air exercise and go for the bad guys when NORAD already knew something horrible was going on.

Besides, you have killed more than 5000 Afghanis, so the score is settled. Move on. Go home. Put U.S. Soldiers Into U.S. Trains And Buses To Protect U.S. Citizens.

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@AC Brecht quoter

If you really wanted to defeat these "nutters" you would have to make one big fat GULAG out of Crackistan, which spans the territories of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Lock them up for 30 years in reeducation camps. Whoever is not in the camps gets killed. You want that ? You have the political support ? I guess not.

Lock the borders against the nutters and those who could be nutters. That's the only workable solution.

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Anonymous Coward

yes but

im not disagreeing with you but populations of people do funny things in such times especially if its a relatively new idea to them, ie having bombs going off in your city.

for the USA NOT to have done anything would have created a huge political problem to them, in short, the general population would have been really pissed off that they dont see anything being done.

Now take the IRA which used to bomb the crap out of us, generally speaking we just get on with it, even after the 7/7 attacks it wasnt that new to us so you wouldnt have seen the same kind of response, i suspect the next time it happens to them, and it will happen again, things wont be so gun-ho but because they still are not used to the idea there would stil be a lot of political preasure to go kick some ones arse, regardless of if its the right people.

I dont mean to point fingers because its no single persons fault but the reason the US had to go to war was simple because of its own people, every day joe, they didnt understand it and so they wanted something done, the govenments had to do something on a local level and because of the perception of them being impotant on a world level, so they invaded. its a shame really because had they just fed the money spent on the war in to trying to stop things happening at home and just got on wwith their lives then the whole "terror" element disapears.

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Black Helicopters

Fuck it...

...nuke them from orbit.

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Anonymous Coward

The suicidal idiot in Sweden had nothing to do

with murderous idiots in Afghanistan.

He was a home grown disaffected immigrant to Sweden who appears to have fallen in with some unpleasant characters while studying in the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

@LD50

Oddly, you seem to be both complacent and arrogant. Yank, are you?

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@Schlampe

Abject poverty, desperation, and financial disparity create and foster extremism...or have you forgotten about the hyper-inflation and conditions that were ripe for the NSDAP? I for one am happy that the current terrorism policy includes defeating and rebuilding.

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Go

@multipharious: Financial Chaos Created By Taliban ??

So "Taliban" is code for "Anglosaxon Banker" ? I didn't know that. Also, wouldn't it better to send the SAS into Canary Wharf to fight the "Taliban" ?

I think we are getting close to the REAL problem.

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@Schlampe

Anglosaxon Bankers?! What the hell are you on about?

Back to your original post. If you were an "oppressed woman" in hostile controlled territory, you would be so terrified that the village would be re-visited and nothing with XX chromosomes (possibly XY too!) would be breathing afterwards. Would you be tough enough to sacrifice the village to tip off the soldiers? I am truly sorry that some brave German soldiers have fallen, but using this as your argument to abandon the country is just not realistic. Plus, you are not even there!

Perhaps you should read "Three Cups of Tea" or "Stones to Schools." This strategy is much cheaper than military force, and has gotten the attention of the Brass in the Pentagon. But the immediate problem is that the Taliban needs to be marginalized so the Afghan forces can take an increasing role with our assistance. That takes boots on the ground. It is clear that you don't have the stomach or resolve for it, but that doesn't mean that the soldiers that are trying to complete the mission they have been assigned want to turn tail and run home before they complete it.

Finally back to the article for anyone else reading. The electronics issued to the troops will likely be software gutted with custom mobile OS build and may not even have an active phone number. It looks like an interesting idea. The GPS adds an option to help locate the positions of soldiers when air strikes might be needed. Being able to co-ordinate movement w/o line of sight comm or having the need for verbal comm is also interesting.

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Anonymous Coward

@Anonymous Coward 01:32

Nope, not a yank, not a sniveling hysteric that sees bogeymen under the bed either. Arrogant? that's for other people to opine about, do I care either way? not so much.

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Content is king

Film at 11 (on wikileaks/openleaks...)

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FAIL

A smartphone? Really?

Given that your average smartphone battery is dead in a day or two... will they all get very long recharging cables? Then again, as it's not uncommon to lose a signal in city centres, not sure how much use any phone will be in rural Afghanistan or Iraq?? Still, they can at least plot the latest military strategy on Angry Birds.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A smartphone? Really?

I think you'll find that the oft hyped "leader of the pack", "one they are all chasing" is lucky to make it past 4pm!

Short life is the new black!

(That should be the moto of US air support)

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Grenade

real-time wikileaks/youtube atrocities...

happy-slapping will now likely become happy-strafing/fragging/massacring, or?

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*Any* phone sounds a bit dumb

Wouldn't it be a good idea to at least mandate a rugged phone, one which is water / shock / temperature resistant so it doesn't instantly break? One which has good reception and operating duration so it lasts during an operation? One where the battery can be recharged or replaced? One which is non reflective too so the enemy doesn't have a convenient shiny target to aim at? One which has a dim screen at nighttime for similar reasons?

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Hmm

I read this and thought that you were describing our (very) old Motorola. Or the Nokia 5110 that came along later.

Although I suppose that the "smart" part is lacking from those.

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Joke

That Will End Well

So in other words you are describing a phone meeting Milspec XX-XX-XXXX. With a guaranteed minimum price of $10,000. Time to pay the Raytheon tax son.

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Smartphones? more like dumb phones!!

So who's going to ask the squaddie what HE wants to take into the combat zone?

Any current smart phone will be lucky to last a week in the rough and tumble of military operations,

What with Wet, dirt, no screen protection, flimsy plastic body, rotten battery life,

small imput keys, no proper lanyard loop, and has to withstand being sat on , dropped, and generally abused, to stand any chance of becoming an essential bitof kit the squaddie would not be without.

No one makes a phone as yet that meets these specs.

Tho there are thousands of folk who would have one like this

Most manual workers, farmers, spanner engineers, not the slide rule type, construction workers heavy plant operators, miners, fishermen, pick and shovel operators. the list goes on.

All we seem to be offered are poncy phones that are primarily a fashion statement.

Someone isgoing to make a lot of money if they only asked folk what they would really want in a phone.

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Grenade

I would suggest

That the Motorola Defy would be a good starting point. (Short term waterproof, strong glass etc....) and Motorola is a US(ish) company

Whether the phones get regularly broken is probably not a major issue, provided replacements are readily available.

Its perhaps about time the Army moved from horrendous expense developing unbreakable bits of kit that are obsolete by the time they get to the soldier, to accepting that things break and go for cheap with lots of spares.

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Nobody makes a phone yet that meets these specs.

Which specs? Perhaps Military 810F specs?

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2010/03/25/motorola-i1-push-to-talk-android-based-smartphone-meets-military-810f-standards/

Okay, in my opinion it doesn't have enough rubber around it to be a "proper" mil-spec-looking device, but it does exist.

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No one makes a phone as yet that meets these specs.

For a smartphone, as has been said above there's the Motorola Defy.

As for dumbphones there are plenty of tradesmen using military spec tough phones such as the JCB Tough Phone and Samsung B2100 which are specifically targeted at the building trade. Just because they aren't available at Carphone Warehouse doesn't mean they don't exist.

Personally, the JCB Tradesman is a great phone for those of us who go near water - drop it in and it floats so you can't lose it. Don't ask how I know it works.

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@ted frater

Well, ted, I'm a rancher. I have been carrying a Nokia 5185 for the last ten years, and it pretty much foots the bill ... with the exception of being waterproof, and a small zip-lock bag takes care of that when it's raining. It has been stepped on by horses, gnawed on by sheep and puppies, run over by tractors, "cured" in the smokehouse overnight, dropped into toilets (three times!), and into a pot of boiling soup (once). It's on it's original battery, and doesn't seem to function any different than the day it was new. I've replaced the outer case and the antenna several times.

Plus, it has a strong transmitter & a sensitive receiver, which works in all of Sonoma's so-called "dead zones" where other phones don't work. What's the downside? Nokia can't sell me a new one! If everyone carried one of these things, the constant upgrade cycle would be broken. Also, the transmitter is stronger than allowed by current law, and it doesn't have the federally mandated tracking chip in it. I'm dreading the day I finally manage to kill it :-)

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US Military buy a JCB?

No chance...

1. Its JCB brand, that's a British company, now, if it said Caterpillar on the side...

2. It only costs less than £70 retail, far too cheap, it has to cost at least 10 times that to be acceptable

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includiing past phones

I agree with you that past type ie 10yrs old phones are better in many respects than the current so called Smart phones.

As for finding another one the same when your dies ebay is your friend and you might just look to get one now before there all scrapped.

Ive tried lots of phones and as of now havnt found on that meeds ALL my needs

which are:-

extremly long battery life.

phone makers usethe smallest batt they can get away with

a decent key board for texting, like on the Nokia communicator 9210

a decent screen for old tired eyes like on the HP jordana/

A flip lid, or clam shell design to protect the works.

Waterproof

Decent speaker,so i can hear it above farm tractor noise.

ted

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Gold badge
Joke

Join the army....

....and get a FREE iPhone!!111!!!

Some time in the future: "US calls off invasion of Iran. 'We were all ready to go and then Iranian Telecoms trebled their roaming charges' said a Pentagon source. 'We costed the operation and thought we could cope along with our other commitments, but just didn't see that one coming. It's a goddamned dirty terrorist trick, but there's nothing we can do about it.' "

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Grenade

But no CDs!

So smartphones are okay, but CDs, flash drives, and other removable media are banned? I guess PEBKAC hasn't made it into the military jargon yet.

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Anonymous Coward

How about PEDPAS

Problem Exists Between President And Soldier

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Anonymous Coward

hmmmm

Problem Exists Between World And My Front Door OR

Problem Exists Between An Englishmans Ears OR

Problem Exists Within Whitehall

there....much better.

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Set on vibrate...

First instruction to special op's teams I imagine.

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Gates Horns

Agreed

"Nobody seems to be fancying Windows Phone 7 much, however."

Yep, that about sums it up.

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Awkward ring tone

The scene is a dark and cloudy night, at a top-secret facility set in a remote location. This is where the "Axis of Evil" does all their nuclear research, and the facility must be taken out. As the view pans to the sky, we see figures in black fatigues maneuvering their parachutes for a pin-point landing on the roof of the lab. They furl their chutes and take perimeter positions.

The team leader takes out a roving guard with a silenced shot. One by one the commandos rappel down the face of the building and approach the door. The first stops at a corner and peers around to check that all is clear.

Suddenly, breaking the silence we hear the jarring tones of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna' Give You Up" blaring. Zoom in to the startled face of the trooper, who grabs at the iPhone holstered at his waist. Hundreds of henchmen burst from the laboratory, firing in every direction. Fade to black.

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Megaphone

Nice

On the subject of Rick Astley, The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp) has been Rickrolling the entire Nation Of Australia for the last month.

Apparently 1987 was the last time that The Poms won The Ashes down under and, coincidentally, that was the same year that Rick Astley had his big hit with NGGYU.

It seems that some tool thought that this tenuous connection between the two events along with the whole "never gonna give you up" concept would be a good thing to exploit so they made it the THEME SONG for the ongoing English Ashes tour!

They have been playing it in promos on NATIONAL RADIO regularly ever since.

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Probably an improvement on BOWMAN, though

Or "Better Off WIth Map And Nokia", as UK troops rapidly re-branded it...

But hey, this is the military we're talking about - the brass aren't usually happy unless tech items cost twenty times more (and, more often that not, work twenty times worse) than off-the-shelf solutions would ;)

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Pirate

Mil $pec

"the brass aren't usually happy unless tech items cost twenty times more (and, more often that not, work twenty times worse) than off-the-shelf solutions would ;)"

But that's only if their brother-in-law is the "sole source" provider of the "special" equipment...

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BOWMAN

What happens when you let the Army write the spec for something more high tech than an anvil.

A couple of years ago doing BOWMAN trials on one of Her Majesty's steely grey harbringers of doom (okay it was a Type 23 frigate so at least two of those statements are true) an Army officer was in the Ops room and said

'If you had BOWMAN on all your ships you'd know where they are without radar!'

Cue amused looks before someone pointed out the RN had been able to do that for decades with something called Link 14 and it also handily let ship's share contact information as well.

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FAIL

New ways to waste money and kill troops

Well at least it's the DoD this time rather than MoD wasting tax payers money.

SmartPhones, as in needs GPRS/GSM network back bone in country, guess what the enemy will be blowing up or tapping if all the squadies have gov issue phones. (assuming they already exist in the back of beyond)

EMCON (Emission Control), the art of not walking about in the middle of the night with a flare strapped to your helmet. We could alternatively issue the squadies loud speakers and dayglow jackets just in case they are not spotted.

So lets do a threat assesment, give bad guys a laptop, GSM/GPRS card, bit of AirSnare type software moded for GSM/GPRS, what can they now do?

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Joke

In news: squaddies to get smart phones

Do they have to keep their action reports under 140 characters?

I'm sure they can't wait - urbanspoon has some great listings in downtown Baghdad.

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