The U.S. government likes to do things its own way. Along those lines, it has decided to embrace Android as a smartphone platform for soldiers and other government employees because of the control it can exert over the software, which in turn underscores how much control Android partners have over the software.
CNN reports that government has decided to use a special version of Android on commercially available Android phones as a way of letting its employees take advantage of the mobile computing revolution. Officials interviewed for the report discuss things as novel as soldiers being able to see the positions of fellow troops on the equivalent of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, as opposed to a more heavily modified phone like the BlackBerry used by President Obama.
Government IT professionals prefer Android because they can modify it as they see fit, according to the report. Apparently they reached out to Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) in hopes of gaining the same access to iOS, but Apple declined, which is surprising to absolutely no one.
But, as GigaOm pointed out, the government said it would be able to update its Android phones within two weeks of a new software release by Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Again: just two weeks to get a heavily modified build of the software designed for national security purposes working with a new operating system release.
The wireless carriers and handset makers who claim they need months and months to update their own Android phones with new releases should be embarrassed, either at their inability to provide updates to customers or by how obvious it is that they’d rather sell you a new phone than update your current one. This is one of the few cases where “good enough for government work” might actually be better than the standard.