Many commercial airlines (including frontrunners American Airlines) have cleared the use of tablets in-flight. Tablets provide pilots with quick access to information and allow flight attendants to check passenger lists easily. Not to be outdone, Bloomberg reports this morning that the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command unit will soon be requesting a large order of tablets. What kind of tablets? Well, this information isn’t clear quite yet, though it seems as though the Air Force is leaning towards iPads if you read the Bloomberg report, and Android tablets if you read other tech reports.
Interestingly enough, TechCrunch (the popular tech blog) has stated that those in charge of order tablets for the Air Force are also considering the PlayBook (this would be a huge contract for the ailing RIM). Of course, all tablets being considered offer specific advantages and disadvantages. Android tablets can be configured easily, but some argue that iPads are more secure. PlayBook also had simplicity advantages that should be considered. In short, the Air Force is currently picking a tablet that will soon be in thousands of pilot (and other) hands.
Testing Tablets Out
Right now, presumably, the Air Force Mobility Command unit is testing out various tablets. No doubt, those that are being considered include the PlayBook, iPad, and some Android tablets. Some sources report that the Air Force could order thousands of these tablets, but other sources report that the order could be in the sixties. Whatever the size of the order may be, one thing is for sure: those friendly skies are getting a lot friendlier (and more accurate) with the use of tablets.
What can a tablet bring to Air Force pilots? Simply put, pilots can access crucial and vital information with the swipe of a finger. Gone are the days when pilots had to rely on radio, and, frankly, it’s about time the government takes advantage of technology. Of course, the main concern with using any kind of device such as a tablet is security. Security is especially important to consider when it comes to government outfits like the Air Force. After all, any Air Force intelligence that’s intercepted by enemy hands could be very dangerous.
Still, the idea that intelligence could be stolen is not enough to keep technology at bay – nor should it be. Tablets can be secured as much as any computer file can be (if not more), and radio signals can be intercepted at any time (as history has clearly pointed out). So, it makes sense that the government is now looking towards the use of tablets.
Who Will Win the Government Contract?
Government contracts are sought-after contracts. Often, government orders are very large and governments have lots to spend on technology. There’s no telling which tablet company will win the Air Force contract, but whatever company gets a slice of this pie will certainly be happy to have it. Android, Apple, BlackBerry (or another company, perhaps?): who do you think will win the government tablet war? Place your bets below!