Android Dominates Army App Challenge


Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.
– General Douglas MacArthur

They also never encountered an Android smartphone.  And since 4 out of the 5 best smartphone applications in a US Army challenge ran on Android, it looks fairly likely that preparing for war will mean arming yourself with Android.


Apps for the Army (A4A), launched March 1 of this year, was a developer challenge to create useful applications for the Army.  The 25 winners (winnowed from 53 entries) will be further developed, and some of them could be coming to a base or battlefield near you.  The five first-place winners each received $3,000.

141 army and civilian developers worked on apps in 5 different categories: Information Access, Location Awareness, Training, Mission Specific, and Miscellaneous.  Most were created for Androids and iPhones.

Some of the apps will need some beefing up, Army-style.  Developing secure encryption for both Android and iPhone means that they're not ready to make an appearance on the battlefield.  And some developers used Wikipedia material without worrying about copyright issues.  But Android has another leg up in staying in uniform: all Army apps are intended to remain open source.


Here is the list of category winners written for Android OS.  All the other winners were iPhone apps.

Winning Andoid Apps from A4A

CategoryApp NameDescriptionAward
Info AccessNew RecruitInfo for new Army recruits: military ranks, insignia, Army news, physical fitness calculator1st
Info AcessAndroid PortableArmy info and reference for new recruits and soldiers2nd
Location AwareMovement ProjectionMap routing app, allows input of obstacles, stops, and threats to calculate best route1st
Location Awarego2MWRLocate Morale, Welfare, and Recreation assets, display info, schedule services3rd
TrainingCivil Affairs PhrasebooksForeign language text and audio, in Mandarin, Kazakh, Korean and Vietnamese.  Can be used to communicate with local civilians when no interpreters available.2nd
TrainingNaturepediaEdible and harmful plants, dangerous snakes, including images.3rd
Mission SpecificDisaster Relief OperationsData survey, dissemination, analysis tool for mapping disaster areas with Google Earth, Google Maps.1st
Mission SpecificThreatMapper MobilePredicts likelihood of crime types based on past history and features of area3rd
MiscTelehealth Mood TrackerUser can track psychological, behavior health over time to monitor deployment-related issues1st
MiscTactical Breathing TrainerStress reduction aid via breathing, can use text or voice.2nd

Sources: Wired, Phandroid