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US Army's Special Operations switching tactical kit from Android to iPhone - report

The U.S. Army's Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, will be switching from Android to the iPhone for a situational awareness kit issued to soldiers, according to a report.




The iPhone 6s will be the centerpiece of gear dubbed the iPhone Tactical Assault Kit, a source told Military.com's DoD Buzz. The equipment is replacing the Android Tactical Assault Kit —both systems link a smartphone to a networked radio, letting unit leaders track soldiers' positions on a map, as well as connect to intelligence and reconnaissance feeds such as video from drones.

While the Army has confirmed neither the switch nor its reasons, one explanation for it may be reliability. The particular Samsung phone used in the Android kit freezes and too often has to be restarted, the source commented. The issue is said to be especially evident when trying to view a split screen showing both a unit's route and a drone feed.

The iPhone is described as "faster," "smoother," and "seamless" by comparison, with graphics that are "clear, unbelievable."

Apple gear has been used in one form or another by the American military for years. Older models of the iPod touch, for instance, were used as computers for snipers.