US Army to launch its own app store
Wired got an early look at an app marketplace designed by the Army for the Army. It will be populated with titles specific to Army operations and will support both desktop computers and mobile devices. The Army Marketplace will launch with 16 iPhone apps and 17 Android apps, most of which were designed as part of the Apps for Army contest. These apps will be available for a nominal fee to Army employees.
The marketplace will let soldiers submit ideas for new apps, which can be discussed by fellow soldiers and developed in-house if possible. Apps that require outside help will be put out to bid and developed by a third-party contractor. Unfortunately, the store is limited to Department of Defense employees only and requires a secure login to gain access to the Marketplace website.
This need for tight security poses a problem as the Army does not have a solution in place for authenticating applications on a mobile device. Right now, the Army Marketplace is useful for designing cool apps, but they cannot be downloaded to Army handsets.
Last week, the Army took steps towards securing a mobile platform by confirming it is testing Android as the OS to power its first smartphone prototype. This military branch may be examining this iOS competitor closely, but it has not chosen Google's mobile OS as its final solution.
In fact, no Android handset has started the certification process overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A phone has to be approved by this board before it can be considered secure enough to contain government data. The iPhone has entered this process, but it is still months away from approval.
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