DARPA to build military App Store, battlefield 3G
Android wins war for battle phones, iPhone and MS lose
We at the Reg suggested this years ago. Keep up, DARPA, for goodness' sake.
DARPA would also like to hear from people with ideas on middleware for the apps and from those who can help it set up the "marketplace". However if you want to run the marketplace you can't also be an app developer:
An organization that is proposing to implement an apps store will be expected to maintain full fairness and impartiality, and hence are strongly discouraged from developing apps.
On the matter of security, the Pentagon tech chiefs don't seem to want to get bogged down in trying to comply with military protection standards - they're no doubt aware how this tends to cripple and/or slow down a project. They say:
Attention must be given to the software modifications required to address key security vulnerabilities in commercial devices and wireless networks. If hardware modifications are recommended, a justification must be clearly articulated and the approach must be consistent with the program goal of affordable per-unit cost and rapid execution. The Transformative Apps program will primarily focus on the use of apps in unclassified environments and networks.
They aren't kidding about "rapid execution", either, at any rate in a government/military sense. They want to see "very aggressive" proposal schedules, with proof-of-concept demonstrations up and running in 6 months and improvements, final polish etc delivered thereafter.
Full details on the project for those interested in participating - whether as app developer, marketplace manager or pack-up-and-go network provider - are available here in pdf.
We would just like to mention that we suggested a scheme along these lines three years ago, as an alternative to the ludicrously expensive and slow-to-appear UK Ministry of Defence FIST (Future Integrated Soldier Technology) digi-trooper plans. Nice to see DARPA keeping up.
One does also note that even the MoD has lately been forced to plug in some ordinary commercial networking gear in Afghanistan, replacing expensive and not-very-good military kit which is now back in the UK. ®