Big, beautiful touchscreens, apps as far as the eye can see, and ubiquitous LTE may be commonplace for many of us civilians, but when you work under the bureaucracy of the US military it sounds like the far-off future. DARPA is working to change that with its own multi-year program, called Transformative Apps (or TransApp), that's worked to bring many of the benefits of smartphones — as well as an inventive startup atmosphere — to the military.
Gizmodo got a first-hand look at some of the work DARPA's doing for the project; there are lots of Samsung devices running heavily customized versions of Android and a wild array of apps made for waging war. Apparently there are apps to help snipers calculate their shots, encyclopedias of weapon information, maps tools to track drones and follow mission plans, a medical diagnosis app, and even a type of social network to let soldiers create a list of allies, civilians, and foes — all with photos. TransApp has been through limited field use with soldiers in Afghanistan, but it's still a long ways off from becoming standard equipment.