DoD, VA open up to Android tablets, smartphones

Tools

U.S. government agencies have moved to adopt consumer tablets and smartphones. The Department of Defense (DoD) has approved the use of Dell's Android-based mobile OS, a move that is expected to pave the way for wider use of Android-based smartphones and tablets throughout the military.

And the Department of Veterans Affairs is ready to purchase as many as 100,000 tablet computers, many of which will go to clinicians.

The Defense Information Systems Agency has now certified the Dell Mobile Security for Android platform for information assurance and use on defense networks, Joe Ayers, an executive in Dell's government business, said in a blog post.

In partnership with Good Technology, Dell said it developed a solution for the Android operating system that will give users secure access to email, documents, a partitioned ecosystem of Android apps and other business applications. Through the Dell Android platform and the mobile device management offered by Good Technology's Good for Government system, information can be passed and managed through Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Exchange servers as well as network operations centers wirelessly.

Certified and piloted on the Deal Streak 5, the certification will allow the next wave of Dell Android devices, set for release next year, to be rapidly integrated into military environments, Ayers said.

Dell released that tablet device in 2010. The tablet isn't being sold commercially anymore because the form factor wasn't "ideal for consumer use," a Dell spokesman told InformationWeek. The form factor, however, works for the military.

Less than a month after announcing a 1,000 iPad pilot test, the VA plans to move ahead, allowing Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Android and Windows OS tablets along with a mix of personal- and government-owned devices into the agency.

Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) PlayBook already received a security certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in July. Apple has a certification request pending, NIST officials told Bloomberg Businessweek.

VA officials have asked the mHealth industry for information on mobile management systems to secure email streams and control access to agency networks.

For more:
- see this Dell blog post
- see this FierceMobileHealthcare article

Related Articles:
NSA talks up use of smartphones, tablets in Department of Defense
SteelCloud's security solution for DoD iPhones
NIST piloting use of iOS devices in various government agencies