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Windows Mobile is good enough for U.S. Army

Sure while everyone is taking pot-shots at Windows Mobile and market share hub-bub, people are using it left and right to get things done in the world.  The latest group to do so is not some fly-by night company but the United States Army.

Launching their Go Mobile Gear, designed for the modern, tech savvy solider (who would be laughed off the battle field for having a pansy iPhone), the U.S. military has approved a handful of  "...communications and conferencing devices that can fit into a soldier’s pocket while going easy on the service’s pocketbook."

Soldiers can use these devices to access "...the Army Knowledge Online portal, a repository of online information, distance learning tools, e-mail and other resources for 2.6 million Army users. The Web-based service is now part of a broader service known as Defense Knowledge Online."

So what does the military consider to be solid devices for the troops?

(Funny, I have half of that stuff....Army here I come!)

The whole kit (we imagine only one phone of course) can be had for about $1,000.  It's a pretty huge endeveor too by the military, which states:

Each piece of the Go Mobile kit has to meet stringent Defense Department information assurance requirements," Parker said. The project is getting ready for its first phase of deployment for garrison training. The next phase will be the tactical environment, which will require hardening of the equipment to military specifications, including both Mil-Std 810-F and Mil-Std 810-G requirements.

And joking aside, the military is evidently "tech agnostic" as they do plan to look at and roll out iPhone and Android sometime in the future.  But for now, it's all WinMo baby.

[Government Computer News via Federal Computer Week]

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

16 Comments
  • Hope that Touch Pro has full ram...
  • This really isn't too good of news for Windows Mobile. The Army and Marines have been using Windows Mobile for years. This article is further proof that the military is going to be phasing out winmo in favor of other platforms in the future, which is mind boggling from a security standpoint. Now, if it made no mention of talks with moto and apple, then it would have been good news.
  • Huh?
  • what is there not to understand?
  • How to you go for approving a few WinMo phones in October for this *new* program to phasing out? That's the logic I'm trying to get as no where does this article state nor imply what you are saying. Just because they *may* want to add iPhone and Android to this program doesn't mean they are ditching all the WM devices they just approved. It means what they say it means: they're not playing favorites. This is a program for regular soldiers who have cell phones to be able to access and use them internally with the Army--they're not forcing solders to *buy* phones but want them to be able to use whatever they have now, hence why they want to support more platforms. They install DoD approved software (made by Good aka Moto) for secure access. That's all right in the article. In what capacity has the Army and Marines "been using WM for years"? References? Because if so, it is obviously a completely different program than Go Mobile and really not relevant. So explain away...
  • I did miss the sentence about using their own carriers, so what I said does not necessarily apply to accessing the AKO. I'm applying what I read to the writing that is already on the wall, which is that iPod and iPhone is being looked at as the new handheld for the soldier. I figured it'd be well known that both the Army and Marines have been using winmo devices in the field for a long time. It's not some program, there are situations where mobile computing is used for operations, and currently winmo is the common os for that task. Speaking of relevance, this post is not relevant to anything. What is the point of posting something thinking it's positive news for windows mobile, when you yourself that they are not playing favorites? And don't say "may" support others... You KNOW the iphone especially is going to be supported for this.. So explain away on that one...
  • It's quite relevant because the iPhone and Android are only being *talked about* right now for development (WebOS and BlackBerry aren't even mentioned). Yet four WinMo phones and the RedFly (of which there is no iPhone counterpart) are currently being deployed by the U.S. Army--it does say something that Windows Mobile was chosen and deployed first with the other platforms being an after thought. It *is* positive news. Bad news would be if they skipped over WM altogether, or were only talking about possibly supporting it. They obviously chose WM first for a reason and it's not too much to assume they plan on supporting it in the future. Also, any citations on the claim that the "...iPod and iPhone is being looked at as the new handheld for the soldier". Can you show anything that substantiates that claim because I'm sure our sister site, the iPhone Blog, would be interested. Right now I'm getting a lot opinion, very little fact and a ton of vagaries from your post. But sorry if you don't find it relevant, you are free to visit other sites and not comment on this one.
  • The article only makes since as an endorsement of WiMo if you assume that the Army likes these devices for the same reason a consumer would. Of course, the article doesn't make that case for a very good reason, it can't be made. The Army's first consideration in choosing a phone is control: control of the flow of information and control of customization and flexibility that would allow the execution of unauthorized applications or access to unauthorized content. These phones were chosen because they could be relatively easily locked down, among other non-consumer oriented reasons. Suggesting that the Army's use of these phones is an endorsement of WiMo is like suggesting we should all be driving M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles because the Army uses them, on the surface a cool idea but ultimately as silly as this article.
  • I didn't know Tracy Jordan was in the Army.
  • Tracy Morgan?
  • Yes, his character's name on 30 Rock is Tracy Jordan.
  • Low bidder...hehehe
  • let''s hope theydecide to encrypt better that they've been doing with their drone planes....
  • Bad link on the Myvu Solo Goggles, try this:
    http://fcw.com/Articles/2009/12/17/Army-Go-Mobile-hardware.aspx?sc_lang=...
  • haha yes this is true windows mobile still the best. They all know Iphone and Android are a joke phones which all it can do is install Apps hahhaa boring... Windows mobile has thousands of Apps before lack of feature Iphone and joke android came to the market. So yes reason why big major companies still use windows mobile like Sony, Palm, Toshiba, Samsung, LG, HTC, HP and many many more... :)
  • It's so good to see the Epix mentioned in this context. Apparently someone else realizes the value of having a useful pointing device other than RIM.
    There are less than four WM devices that I can find bearing input other than hardkeys (d-pad) and/or touch. Both are miserable ways of interfacing with the OS on a regular basis when any degree of accuracy is desired. the Epix, like the BJ in its bloodline, has a simple optical trackpad that, apart from being less than stellar in very bright direct sunlight, makes doing everything with the device fantastically easier and faster, even typing on a SIP (though my skills are primitive compared to most at telephone data-entry). My Epix suffers now from a loose or failing component somewhere in the earpiece audio loop, which has it destined for the knackers' yard, much as I hate to see it go (especially given the prices of new devices!). I've resigned myself to the fact that if I wait for another WM device with a trackball/trackpad/mouse/whatever to arrive, I will have to trade for it, as this Epix isn't going to hold out another year. My crosshairs, being on AT&T, are on the Touch Pro2/Tilt2, but its specs just barely meet minimum requirements and it's hard to 'settle' for three hundred bucks. I honestly wish the Clie program had never died and made the transition onto smartphones. Though that was many years ago, all signs pointed to the device's superiority in all the important areas. The OS was actually being developed. It did things other devices couldn't do. It had years of battery life. It wasn't all cutesy and thin and light like some goddamned jap fashion model; it had heft and a sense of structural soundness. It even had gee-whiz cool factor, which apparently in today's market means a great deal. Now we have a wedge in the middle of the industry, with frilly apple shit on one side and this unmanageable heap of everything else on the other, and we're not innovating, not satisfying, and not excelling. The economy's just part of it, I don't think MS is scared to take risks here, it's the device manufacturers. Given free reign to spec and sell whatever they feel like, there's no cohesive sense of this unitary sort of Windows Phone that MS is trying to market. Everyone just keeps slapping the lowest-common-denominator barely-upgrade bits and pieces in essentially the same devices, aiming at each other's designs, and charging an arm and a leg for them. No wonder they're not selling! There has to be more centralized control, somehow, of what has to be present in these design specs and some sense of how far one needs to go to be able to issue it as a new product. Cut down on how often you release hardware and make the differences in those phases much more dramatic; give people a reason to want to upgrade, especially as they're going to end up bending over to the carrier to do so anyhow. Restructure the parasitic relationship between hardware and carrier and eliminate the rebranding bullshit; that alone will sell those carriers' accessories, where the profit margin really is. If the carriers won't play ball, just start retailing the devices everywhere at any kind of price point lower than the carriers want. The system is fantastically complex, but it doesn't look like anyone's trying real hard to dig themselves out.