from porn" and mocking iPod customers for holding their phones the
wrong way, Google's Android operating system is kicking butt, taking
names, and going to war.
Raytheon, well-known for its Patriot Missile, is developing software
for the American military based on the Android OS. The Raytheon
Advanced Tactical System (RATS) will be loaded onto military-only
smartphones (I want one already) and will enable our armed forces in
the field to track each other's positions, download military-grade
satellite images directly onto their phones, and presumably use
Augmented Reality software.
We are all familiar with Augmented Reality (AR) already. The 1st and
Ten Line on a televised football game is an example of AR; it does not
exist on the field, but it is layered over our televised view of the
field in order to give viewers information that they might not
otherwise have. Yes yes, I know it insults the intelligence of every
football fan who knows where the line is, but think about the way that
AR could be used on the battlefield.
A Marine points his smartphone at a particular area, and he views the
area through his phone with additional layers of information provided
by friendly forces (or unfriendly forces, if we've hacked their data);
a symbol to designate a rendezvous point, a red blinking dot to
identify the location of a sniper spotted by his buddy across the
valley, text containing information about buildings, in realtime,
limited only by imagination and the conditions on the ground.
This is big. According to Raytheon, "Google has helped us push the
limits of the phone." Well, kudos to Google. And by the way, I am
pleased as punch with my snappy little Droid phone.