US Army is switching from Android to iOS

The United States Army’s Special Operations Command (SOC) is making the move to ditch existing Android devices and to utilize Apple iPhones. The Android smartphones that are currently in use by the Special Operations Command would freeze up, won’t refresh properly and would need to be restarted quite often, leading to to the wastage of previous time.

In the field, such scenarios can be devastating and would affect not just the performance of a soldier, but his or her life. The Special Operations Command is switching to iPhone 6s after it found its “Android Tactical Assault Kit” ridden with glitches, slow to operate and prone to crashes. The Tactical Assault Kits are modified versions of popular smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note, designed to run Military-specific applications and battlefield awareness tools.

The Special Operations Command found Android inferior to iOS when running an Army-made application with a split-screen live video feed from a drone on one side and its route on the other. Application lag is reportedly unbearable for viewing live feeds from unmanned aerial systems. On iPhone, the graphics are “clear” and “unbelievable” and performance is “faster” and “smoother.”

According to an unnamed source. “when trying to run a split screen showing the route and UAS feed, the Android smart phone will freeze up and fail to refresh properly and often have to be restarted, a process that wastes valuable minutes.”

The source also quoted that, “it’s seamless on the iPhone. The graphics are clear, unbelievable. The iPhone is faster and smoother than Android.”

It’s not clear exactly what type of Android phone the Special Command Forces unit was using, but another division of the US army uses a Samsung phone like the Galaxy Note which is connected to a radio. In 2010 the US army gave soldiers iPod touches in Afghanistan and Iraq that had language-learning applications installed on them to help with Iraqi, Arabic, Kurdish, Dari and Pashto.

The US Department of Defense said in 2013 that iOS 6 devices were secure enough to connect to Pentagon networks and to be used for low-level security clearance work. Before then it used 470,000 BlackBerry devices, 41,000 Apple ones and 8,700 devices running Android.

It’s not clear which model of the Samsung Android device the Army’s Special Operations Command used, so we can’t make an accurate comparison of that specific Samsung device and the iPhone 6s. However, Gizmodo reported in 2014 that the US Army was using the Samsung Galaxy Note to run its specialized applications. It wouldn’t be a fair comparison to pit a two to three year (or older) Samsung phone against Apple’s latest iPhone.

If the Android smartphone being replaced is the original Samsung Galaxy Note from 2010, then the switch to a more modern device such as the iPhone 6s is long overdue. However, it would be interesting to know more about the issue if the device being replaced is a more recent Galaxy Note.

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