A potential battlefield for Palm: U.S. military testing smartphones | webOS Nation

A potential battlefield for Palm: U.S. military testing smartphones 75

by Jonathan I Ezor#IM Wed, 15 Dec 2010 3:16 pm EST

With each new application that is released for iOS and Android but not webOS, and with each major app developer that publicly drops support for webOS, the volume of calls for Palm (and its parent HP) to fight for mindshare and opportunities grows louder and louder. One major new potential battlefield (pun intended) may be the U.S. military, which is considering issuing smartphones to all active duty personnel. The "Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications" initiative, part of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC), is currently evaluating iOS and Android, but the Army has not chosen a platform.

Could Palm be in the running? It appears that it's being considered, or rather, PalmOS is being considered. Rickey Smith, the director of ARCIC-Forward, is quoted by The Army Times as saying, "We're not wedded to a specific piece of hardware. We are open to using Palm Trios [sic], the Android, iPhone or whatever else is out there." What's more likely is that ARCIC is considering webOS, but clearly its key personnel do not know enough about it to accurately discuss it, only highlighting Palm's ongoing PR problem.

Considering the competition, though, webOS should be the #1 choice for ARCIC. It is less wedded to desktops than is iOS (a major consideration in PC-hostile areas of operation), is not subject to the Google-specific licensing and privacy concerns underlying Android, and is based on verifiable open source code. owned and supported by HP, which is already intimately familiar with military requirements, having served defense departments since 1962.

We of course hope that webOS is already on the ARCIC's short list (with accurate device names!), but if it isn't, HP needs to liaise its Enterprise Services unit (which works with the military) with its Personal Systems Group (home of the Palm Global Business Unit) ASAP. Otherwise, if Palm continues to miss opportunities like these, webOS (currently suffering from FUD) could quickly become FUBAR.

Source: The Army Times



Yeah, so I can check my email while on leave...........................................................................................................................

The only way the military would issue web OS phones to their officers, is if HP gave them to them for free.

Palm is dead. Web OS is dying...using the famous words of Bill Paxton from Aliens, "Game over man game over!"

With Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone around, there is no reason for the US Military to consider WebOS. Developers are bailing left and right. You can't even find a ruggedized case for the Pre Plus that will fit an extended battery because attempting to run one with the normal battery is an exercise in battery drain. And before anyone points out how the Pre 2 has better battery life, which US carrier is even carrying them?

When they specifically say they're evaluating Android and iOS, throwing WebOS into the fray seems to redefine the word "speculative."

Not when they specifically mention Treos as well.

the guy specifically said "hardware" and one that doesn't run webos so i think it has to be classified as speculative. He does say he's open though.

It's pretty safe to assume that the first priority is security. With that in mind only a fool would think that they're not considering Blackberry as well as they're arguably the most secure OS. And if you think they're not looking at Windows Mobile as well then you're equally foolish.

Just because some bozo mouthpiece gets picked to do the talking doesn't mean he has a clue what he's talking about. As a military buddy of mine says "Never believe an army spokesman. They got that job by being too stupid to be trusted with anything important."

RIM is canadian which could be an issue for US Army. Or at least a US senator could make it an issue! (But yes, I know BB is secure if boring)

"Never believe an army spokesman. They got that job by being too stupid to be trusted with anything important."

so much win....


I saw that in the article and laughed.

the military has clearly been talking to apple. it was reported early this year they met with them. http://www.fastcompany.com/1596878/us-army-visits-apple-hq-to-discuss-us... i've also seen pictures of ipads used in the field and there was the report of SoldierEyes, http://appchronicles.com/10/soldiereyes-ipad-app-tracks-military-persone... the soldier tracking software for ipad and iphone. I could see them using android to cause of it's customizability. But impressing the military i'm sure would be tough.

I'm sorry, but that cheesy Pre landing in the background with a parachute that looks like something drawn in MS Paint just put me on the floor at work, laughing so hard!

"MS Paint"?!? Please! I used GIMP! :) {Jonathan}

P.S. I *like* cheese! :)

Actually the Pre is in the *foreground*, someone didn't feel like making a clipping path ;)

"Somebody" just isn't all that skilled (yet). :) {J}

Wow, i almost feel bad. I totally didn't notice that pre in the picture.

I used to have a treo. WebOs is waaay better. Although, Treos are bricks. I once dropped it off the second story and it survived completely unscathed. Haha, it performs this feat with "crumple zone" type disassembling. The battery door, battey, and stylus all come flying apart like a grenade. Would be great for the field.

Shouldn't they be using Sectera Edges?

HP|Palm need to land this contract.. HP needs to realize they need to get webos in as many hands as possible inorder for it to grow at the rate of android. Once people experiece webos (on hardware that can handel it smoothly with no lag) they will love it. Everyone knows webos hands down is the best mobile OS.

Even if HP|Palm breaks even or takes a loss on the deal in the short term, it will help growth and profits in the long term.

Step 1: Create multiple form factors with top of the line specs (front and rear camera, 1+ghz cpu, solid build, oled screen) and release each version on each carrier!! No exclusivity agreements.

Step 2: Everyone complains about lack of apps, however its not about quanitity its about quality, get the top 100 paid and free apps on androis/ios and get them on webos, even if you have to pay them!! (p.s. release all the API's already!)

Step 3: Sacrafice short term profits for growth of webos, i.e make deals with carriers (free teathering), include free touchstone with purchase, etc..

Step 4: Dont fail.

agree! In terms of apps, they should hit that 100 top paid apps market and show them how easy it is to develop for webOS. I'm not sure how it works for app devs, but I would think it would be a good idea to have palm build a prototype/beta or whatever of that particular app, and deliver it to those popular devs and have them build off of, polish, or even tear apart that app and make it the way it should be. Like Kessler said before, woo these guys. Hook them up with some hardware (hp envy and/or PalmPad) and software tools to get the app running. I think that would show them how interested Palm is, in having their app available on the webOS platform. And truthfully, if hp|palm doesn't attract more devs in the future, they should start brewing some apps of their own. Like they do with facebook,which to me, is one of the most functional apps out there.
And as far as the Army, the multitasking and cloud computing of webOS should be the selling point. Again, true multitasking is webOS' forte and no other mobile platform can stand up to that. Folders... Not multitasking.

While at one time I may have agreed, I will have to disagree with this statement 'Everyone knows webos hands down is the best mobile OS.'

No one knows about webOS...which is why there is no marketshare or mindshare.

I've also come to disagree that this is the best mobile OS. It does have very easy to use UI elements, multi-tasking, etc; but, there are other factors in which they are way behind the competition such as API, basic core apps, voice commands, boot up time, and availability of applications (just to name a few) to take into consideration. I would also say that hardware options have to come into play when ranking a mobile OS. If the hardware sucks, it is going to reflect on the OS.

At this point, I'm more likely to say that webOS has the "potential" to be one of the best mobile OS. However, it does not seem like Palm or HP have the ability to draw out that potential.

Currently, I'm more inclined to agree with this gentleman that if you get the Palm Pre for Christmas, you should return it promptly.


Don't cry too much, rabid fanboys...the Iphone 4 made the list too although for very different reasons.

Ouch. Very good article. Sucks cause I got a Wii as a gift. . .wanted an X-box. Then I am already a Pre owner. Not likely others will get a Pre though since you cant find them through most US carriers. Got to be kicking Palm big time to read this kind of stuff. I bet CES they are gonna blow us away with some Steve Jobs type isht. . . .or will in the coming months.

They need a phone that can stand up to the elements. The pre and its likely successors likey will be garbage. They can use webos printer in the recruiters offices though besause hp didn't buy palm to get into the smartphone business.

haha...? NOT

Would be great for the military considering that nobody (not even the Chinese) want to develop . . .er hack WebOS. Software updates so slow they move at the governments pace and no new hardware just repackaging like the AK-47 or standard field grenade. . .yup its a fit!


Ruby already has ideas....stay tuned! :)

Yea. In the coming months. LOL!!

As a 20 plus member of the US Army and Army National Guard, I am actually suprised at Android or IOS even being mentioned. The Army is in bed heavy with Microsoft. Almost all business is done in MS Office. So I would think they would be looking hard at MS OS phones. I was never issued anything other than a RIM phone, so suprised they aren't getting a glance too. I know HP has been working with the military for awhile, but Dell holds the reins. Never had anything other than a Dell laptop or workstation. Would love to see WebOS or Android get a foothold here, just doesn't seem practical. Sigh...I feel mixed about this news. I miss the old days when you could escape your commanders, now they are a call away at all times. You are never really on leave anymore. You have to treat your cell phone like a rifle and never leave it out of your site.

"This is is my rifle, this is my Pre..."

Frankly, there isn't a smartphone on the market that I see as being suitable as far as sturdiness. They're all designed for looks, not sturdiness, and to last a year, at best. And that's in the hands of average consumers. Frankly, I'd want my old Palm Centro, that thing just took a licking and kept on ticking. I think to get that contract some manufacturer would have to specifically design a new device for military issue.

Actually, I think people might be missing the purpose of cellphones for soldiers. It would have to be administrative equipment, no different than the run-of-the mill Dell Latitude laptops, and Blackberry Curves being used now. A cell phone would not be tactical equipment. The comms are insecure, and signal waves can initiate explosives (they are common IED triggers). So, whatever phone is chosen, it will not need to pass rigid tactical conditions.

If we're talking about stateside Pentagon staff, sure, but if we are talking about in the field, it needs to at the very least have a ruggedized case that will fit an extended battery Pre. There are none. A default battery Pre won't cut it in the field.

Yes, I can see it now.

The Pre couldn't survive without MULTIPLE replacements for most civilians but the military is gonna run em.

lol, k

Good afternoon, and welcome to our vendor briefing for all vendors interested in providing smartphones to the US military.

Requirement #1:

Must be hardened and sturdy enough to withstand adverse conditions... Palm please don't try to sell us those little plastic pebbles. If we ever want to use slingshots, those would be perfect, but not today.

However, if you want to propose the new hotness you announced at CES... well step to the front of the line.

Sorry, the briefing would go more like...

Good afternoon, and welcome to our vendor briefing for all vendors interested in providing smartphones to the US military.

Requirement #1:

Must be hardened and sturdy enough to withstand adverse conditions... SHUT UP Palm!

Hold on, webOS might have open source components, but it is still proprietary, unlike Android.

Not sure why that would matter to the military though. I'm sure HP would gladly share the source if it meant landing a fat military contract.

I bet that would finally get encryption into webOS

WebOS has the best chance once it has better hardware. Its simple, elegant and easy to use. iOS is too crippled. Android is too unreliable and the apps crash. I have seen apps crash a lot on iOS and Android but never had a WebOS app crash. WebOS is stable and capable.

You kind of remind me of a street preacher telling everyone the end of the world is near.

There was a time when people would have agreed with you but that's long since past.

Yea well...... I was just stating the simple and obvious about the other platforms. iOS is not capable for the tasks the military probably needs and the iPhone is more of a entertainment device, while Android is capable but seems to be unstable. The only reason WebOS would seem unstable in too many instances is if it got laggy or froze, which is lack of RAM and slightly unoptimized code, which will be fixed soon i'm sure.


I think you're just making things up now.

What? Wow. All of you are so negative. I want a new device as much as the next guy, but this is a palm fan site and you are a member. But most of you sure don't act like it. They should rename the site to, palm sucks, where's my new device? central. I'm just trying to be positive and show my support for the platform. I know that it does not have that great of a chance of getting picked, but I think it would be a good choice. Even if what I said was not 100% accurate, why should you care? I am defending WebOS and this is a WebOS fan site. We are here because we love WebOS, or at least we should be. From your replies, it sounds to me that you support the other guys and think palm sucks and is a sinking ship. Why are you here?

Palm doesn't suck. HP SUCKS. HP is the one holding the reins who isn't doing anything. HP is the one who is selling a Pre 2 in France and not able to gain interest from any carrier in the USA due to the weak hardware. Blind Fanboyism won't change the situation HP is in. The installed base sees HP doing nothing while developers bail and end users who have upgrade availability are moving to other platforms where the apps are better and more plentiful. Those are facts. I never had an app crash on my Pre Plus either, but I'm not spending any money on apps for it when the majority of developers for the platform are teenaged kids and I don't even know if my current carrier will be carrying any new WebOS devices. AT&T is marketing BB and Windows Phone pretty heavily. Also, I'm planning a move to T-Mobile and they don't have any WebOS phones right now, so a new WebOS phone won't be an option for me on December 31 when I switch carriers. I'd love to see the platform recover, but HP isn't doing anything to make that happen and while it's possible that they might "in the coming months", we don't even know when current Pre and Pre plus users will get whatever flavor of WebOS 2 will be available "in the coming months".

We're all entitled to our feelings based on our own experiences with the platform and how we choose to perceive HP's lack of action, but the fact is that while HP is doing nothing, the other platforms are gaining marketshare, mind share, developers, apps, and accessories, while Web OS has little left but a 1.3% marketshare and teen aged developers.

This is not a "Palm fan site", this is from the about us for P|C:

"Launched in January, 2009, PreCentral.net is the number one site for Palm Pre news and discussion.

PreCentral is integrated with the already-established community of Palm fans and experts at TreoCentral.com, sharing forums, insights, and users across both sites."

So, it is a site that is dedicated to news and discussion. When things start to go downhill, sometimes that discussion turns to disgust.


And that is usually when the fanboys pop out to defend the platform and suggest everyone stop complaining and wait for "The coming months" when HP will finally do something to move the platform forward rather than do nothing and watch it stagnate while the other platforms leave WebOS behind. Having the best platform on earth doesn't matter if adult developers bail, leaving nothing but teenaged developers, and the best HP can do is release the Pre 2 in foreign countries where there is no market share at all, while ignore state side customers and showing what every Sprint Pre owner can only view as outright disdain.

Hmm, you're right. Now that I think of it, I have never had an app crash on my Pre either. I have however, had it lock up numerous times, had it do the "random reboot" thing numerous times, and had it just completely fail to start once.

Applications crash on all platforms, there is nothing special about webOS that prevents this from happening.

What in the world does "based on verifiable open source code" and why would that be an advantage for webOS?

The only reason I could see the U.S. military choosing HP webOS would be to open up a whole new line of excuses.

We will withdraw troops "in the coming months."

We will stop the don't ask, don't tell policy "over the coming year."

You will be discharged "in the coming months."

Mission Accomplished, "stay tuned."

A major selling point for open source code is that it can be *vetted* for specific security and other holes, and modified as needed to address those holes. In a closed source environment, the military (for example) would either have to take the vendor's word for the strength of its security, or negotiate some level of code sharing, which closed-source vendors are *not* comfortable doing. (Think about asking Microsoft to share the code for Word, or take a look at Apple's iOS developer's agreement, and you get a sense of that perspective.) {Jonathan}

Jonathan, yes I understand that. Android is 100% open source. You say in your article "...(webOS) is based on verifiable open source code. owned and supported by HP".

Therefore to use your argument, the military should not even consider webOS or iOS as both of them are closed source proprietary and it should be an obvious choice to go with Android. I fail to see why this is a positive of webOS.


It makes sense the military would want it. In WW2 they had code talkers who spoke Navaho (sp?). WebOS has about about as many people who Speak Navaho and since products running it are so scarce, no one would know what it was all about. The enemy would probably not even look.

Who said dead ideas and languages were necessarily obsolete?

Yes and think about how no viruses can take down webOS because the hackers don't know about webOS. Funny and sad at the same time.
I thought this was a huge long shot but then again armed forces can do weird things or be forced to do weird things like pay for $1000 toilet seats. Plus they don't care about apps and probably think fewer apps = better. Google does record all sorts of personal info so they would be at a disadvantage. All HP has to do is drop webOS into a vintage treo brick case with new cpu and super bulletproof Gorilla glass screen - then you have a rugged device! Sounds crazy but no less than other crazy ideas.

That sounds like a better strategy that what HP is doing (NOTHING). The obscurity and lack of apps could work in HP's favor as far as the military is concerned, and if their goal was to reduce market share and app development in order to steer the public away and the military toward WebOS, then it makes senses now why HP is doing nothing. Their quietly negotiating with the military for a contract.

Maybe after it becomes popular with the Military (like the Humvee vehicle was), then they come up with a consumer version later and possibly rebuild marketshare and mind share?

I need to see that map NOW Johnson!

Just a minute Sir, Google Maps is still loading! Damit! It says "Too Many Cards". Let me reboot Sir.


Dammit Johnson! Just send it to the Webos printer then!

But Sir, we're boots on the ground in Basra "trying to win the hearts and minds", why the hell do i want to remote print to a printer back at base?

Dammit Johnson you slimy little communist twinkle toed...er...wait a minute...That's a good point. Nevermind screw printing. Let's just go home.


You gotta love the Droid advertisement banner slapping you in the face on the homepage. Just priceless.


tell me another one.

There are rugged Android phones on the market. An example is the Motorola Defy, which is waterproofand dustproof, plusit has Cornings Gorilla Glass for its screen.

Just for you people who can't seem to get it into your head, the Pre isn't the only hardware for webOS. When they land a contract with the military, one of the first things to happen will be the development of ruggedized hardware. In fact, plans for it are probably necessary for landing said contract.

Sounds like a fit to me. Track multipule enemy locations, incoming data, and things of that nature via notification with multipule cards open all at once. Dam I love webos and it's multitasking, simple to use awsomeness. Jzzzzzzzzz :)

Yea, but where is the "TRACK YOUR GIRLFRIEND" app using her GPS signal? Now THAT would be a useful app.

there is scant mention stuff palm related. Very very speculative stuff here.

Yeah, it sort of smells like someone picked up a whiff of a story from Arse Technica and tried to blow smoke up our Arses... the "wouldn't it be cool if people cared about webOS" factor is extremely high.

by contrast ios, iphone, and android are heavily mentioned.even kindle's and nooks are mentioned. "Army plans to roll out wireless Common Access Card readers for the iPhone". so someone has already started working to do things iphone related.

"Soldiers could receive a monthly stipend

Man, it seems the same people write negative sarcastic responses to every article posted...

anyone else catch the full page write up on SMARTPHONES in the WALL STREET JOURNAL TODAY? PgB9.
Mention of every smartphone manufacture & Android, IOS, Symbian ....
But no mention of Palm, WebOS, or HP.
Otherwise a great article.

HPALM wayyyyyyy behind now from mindshare point of view which equals market share...

I can't see the taxpayers footing the bill for smart phones to be a standard issue for soldiers! However, i can see webos being integrated somehow into their command and control software.

We already foot the bill for local, state, and federal employees to have them. I don't think this is much different This would be a restricted use item, the army never gives equipment that isn't restricted heavily. Also, C&C software is self-contained and broadcasted over secure data streams received by EPLARS and rendered in FBCB2 or Blue Force Tracker. Can't see COTS cell phones ever being integrated in this fashion. Again, I can't see cell phones ever being used as tactical equipment. There are already highly portable secure communication methods being used.

Really? they are considering IOS? Doesn't that mean they would need access to itunes to backup/update/download etc.. ?

I can pretty much guarantee that webOS will not be used. For anyone that has worked in any aspect of the govt, they know that the govt only uses feature-packed, secure, free, and simple software. Elegance does not matter at all. I could really see Android being used here, as the govt loves Linux. Given its non-proprietary-ness, it makes it a better fit than iOS.

:goes back to using IE6 on his workstation:

Oh, man, the winner of the contract has to have an app that will covertly upload encrypted data to Wikileaks!

Get on it, developers! Help drive the imperial powers (and mega-corporations) nuts!

I am actually suprised at Android or IOS even being mentioned.
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