Product Development Technologies, Inc. Drives Android Mobile Development for the Military

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Global design firm cites platform’s power, flexibility, and robust interface support as important factors in its emerging mission-critical usage.

They can rely on a tool that manages humanitarian and disaster relief missions, intelligence and surveillance concerns, translation, and planning/logistics coordination. Android is bringing about the first all-in-one military communicator, and PDT continues to study and refine its applications to match the needs of that environment.

Product Development Technologies (PDT), a global, full-service product development firm, has recognized four continuing trends that have allowed the firm to become a driving force in Android mobile application development for the military. The list, amplified by recent platform advancements, is compiled by PDT’s group of veteran technology professionals proven to be thought leaders in the space.

“As the Android platform expands its hardware and software presence by offering customizable options for every taste, specialized military initiatives are befitting,” says Jim Curtin, PDT Defense Systems Program Manager. “This shift to a sustainable, open source mobile platform in the public sector has provided us with the capacity to assist critical battlefield operations and develop relationships to enhance our offerings going forward.”

Why Android Will be a Military Force in 2010

1.    It’s an open source platform: Android’s flexible Linux underpinnings have allowed developers to program powerful applications that can support a variety of interfaces and anything from disaster relief optimization to supplier integration and wartime navigation. A forthcoming government-sponsored application marketplace emphasizes user interface controls and minimal bandwidth usage on network-dependent applications, areas in which the platform itself and PDT both excel.

“The U.S. military’s embrace of Android has given us the tools necessary to make applications useful for soldiers, intuitive in stressful situations, and inventive when compared with current and previous approaches,” says Curtin. “PDT has not only been successful at pursuing progressive mobile development, but has designed its efforts to achieve maximum military satisfaction and viability in the sector.”

2.    It’s designed for control: The smartphone revolution has taken hold, and with it has come a consumer desire for absolute control over every aspect of their digital lives. The absence of a closed-vendor application distribution system, along with the ability to apply modifications to program source code at will, has made Android the most transparent platform available. Additionally, potential government cost savings realized from the transition could see reinvestment in ground support where our troops need it most.

“The evolution of the Android platform has been accompanied by a shift in the way Americans desire to consume and distribute content,” says Curtin. “The closed-vendor model is changing, in that we now wish to achieve the same level of control over our devices at work that we feel at home, while at the same time reducing cost. As a result, companies exploring Android-based mobile solutions are discovering their ability to simultaneously boost employee morale, control expenditures, and continue to distribute the proprietary software with the same features to get work done. Nowhere has this impact been felt more than in the military setting.”

3.    It’s adaptive to military concerns: The increasing scope and complexity of military software over the last decade had previously made it almost impossible to port existing methods to mobile environments. With its comprehensive framework of potential modifications suiting nearly every need, Android has reinvented the concept of the digital military exercise and could foster a truly wireless battlefield support infrastructure in the near future.

“PDT is on the front lines of supplying mobile military software to soldiers on devices that many already own. Whereas before most soldiers were stuck with a multitude of devices, each for a separate function, now they can combine them all into a single unit that fits neatly in their uniforms,” says Curtin. “They can rely on a tool that manages humanitarian and disaster relief missions, intelligence and surveillance concerns, translation, and planning/logistics coordination. Android is bringing about the first all-in-one military communicator, and PDT continues to study and refine its applications to match the needs of that environment.”

4.    Hardware is catching up to software: A major concern in recent years has been the exposure of such fragile components to extreme weather environments and terrain, staples of military life.
With the recent introduction of the first Android handsets that match military specifications, however, such worry is a thing of the past.

“Newer devices that conform to rigorous government standards combine the tough materials that workers come to expect with the sleek form factor that they’ve never experienced before,” says Curtin. “This makes them more likely to adopt the Android platform and use it as intended, without fear of damage. Increasing demand for the hardware can only continue to enhance the quality of the solutions PDT is working towards for the mobile marketplace.”

In May, PDT will be participating in Soldier Technology 2010, an international symposium detailing trends and advancements in military and defense-related technology. To learn more about PDT’s expertise in the defense and public safety sectors, visit its Web site.

About PDT:

Product Development Technologies, Inc. (PDT) is a global, full-service product development firm with over 100 employees in eight offices worldwide. Team members have expertise in a wide range of product development disciplines, including strategy, design research, industrial design, user interface development, electrical and mechanical engineering, software development, laser scanning, and tooling. PDT’s award winning product designs have been recognized by BusinessWeek, the Industrial Designers Society of America, Design Journal, The Consumer Electronics Association, Inc. Magazine, Chicago Athenaeum of Architecture and Design, and Parametric Technologies Corporation.

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