Modern mobile phones can perform amazing informational tasks, and the US Army has apparently realised that “Great big backpacks with handsets that look like they came from the 80s” isn’t quite living up to modern technology. That’s why they’ve contracted with Raytheon to develop the Raytheon Android Tactical System (RATS). Yes, the super-cyber tactical smartphone will be Android powered, and while we’re not sure how that it’ll affect Google in the smartphone software war, it’ll be a definite advantage if it gets physical.
The RATS is intended to relay intelligence and allow soldiers to keep track of each other, as well as uploading photographs and information on their current location. You know, all the things smartphones and social media already do, but this way it would actually be about important things. There is even talk of using social-network style friends lists to identify friend or foe in the field! The equipment is aiming at a $500 price point, putting it in the upper ends of real smartphones, and we imagine that most of that money will go into toughening the devices up – both the hardware and the software. The systems have to shut themselves down if lost, and more importantly, you don’t want your signal (and maybe more) to die if you hold them the wrong way.