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Navy wants to look at Windows smartphone

Dec. 2, 2012 - 11:05AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 2, 2012 - 11:05AM  |  
The Navy's technology gurus are looking to better connect you to work while you're away from your desk.That could mean having a Windows 8 phone in your pocket or the ability to use your personal laptop without compromising security.
The Navy's technology gurus are looking to better connect you to work while you're away from your desk.That could mean having a Windows 8 phone in your pocket or the ability to use your personal laptop without compromising security. ()
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The Navy's technology gurus are looking to better connect you to work while you're away from your desk.

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The Navy's technology gurus are looking to better connect you to work while you're away from your desk.

That could mean having a Windows 8 phone in your pocket or the ability to use your personal laptop without compromising security.

Terry Halvorsen, the Navy Department chief information officer, is responsible for the service's computer systems. He spoke with reporters Nov. 26 and explained what sort of mobile computing initiatives he is working on.

While Microsoft's phone holds just a sliver of the mobile market, it has an advantage in the military because its operating system closely matches what the fleet uses on its computers.

"It has some interesting potential, because we are today, and will continue to be, a Windows-based organization," Halvorsen said.

And the phone, which was released in early November, has solid security features, he said. While Halvorsen didn't single out specific strengths, the phone can be encrypted and its Internet browser can prevent scammers from getting sensitive information.

Windows 8 phones, along with Apple's iPhone, which the Navy is still interested in, would still come with a catch: The one you would get from your command wouldn't have all the features that make the smartphones fun. It would be limited mostly to calls, emails, browsing the Web and some work with documents.

You wouldn't be able to download apps unless they pass a security screening.

The use of smartphones and e-readers in the Navy continues to grow. The Navy almost exclusively uses BlackBerry devices for mobile services, issued on an as-needed basis.

Other mobile devices, including Apple iPads and Amazon's Kindle e-reader, are also used in special circumstances. For example, flag officers use Kindles to store documents and some aviators have iPads loaded with maps in the cockpit.

While the smartphones may keep you in touch, the Navy is evaluating cloud computing to allow you to work outside the office. Cloud computing is where programs and data are remotely stored and then accessed through the Internet by a desktop, laptop or mobile device.

"That's in the early stages, and we're making sure all the bugs are worked out," but it would be a "huge breakthrough" in mobility, Halvorsen said.

While the Navy is trying to bring in new technology that will help protect its digital data, one dinosaur is being pushed out. Fax machines are being scuttled.

Fax machines pose a security risk, Halvorsen said, because it's possible the recipient is not nearby to pick up the fax. The information could fall into the wrong hands.

Though faxes aren't banned, they should be avoided when possible, Halvorsen said.

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