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*Original Story Released Aug. 21*
Sailors and Navy family members looking to find the latest information about the Navy on their smartphone or tablet will soon have a new mobile application, or app, to get up-to-date news and media.
The Navy announced Aug. 21 the upcoming launch of the official U.S. Navy app, a new mobile application that will provide Navy information to Sailors and their families on-the-go. The free app will be available for download later this month.
Recognizing the need to deliver news and information across multiple mobile platforms, the Navy's Chief of Information funded the contract last year to develop the official U.S. Navy app to provide instant access to news and multimedia content to Sailors, their families and anyone interested in the U.S. Navy.
"Today's Sailors and their families deserve new tools to stay informed about their Navy," said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy Chief of Information. "We want the Navy app to be that tool. I'm excited about getting it out there."
The Navy app integrates content from the Navy's multiple internal media sources, including www.navy.mil, All Hands Magazine online, the Navy Live blog and the Navy's social media sites. The app also offers users the latest photos, videos, news and feature stories highlighting key Navy events.
Users will also have access to an interactive global map that displays the locations of key naval installations, current events, an up-to-date status of naval forces, as well as the Navy's current forward presence.
In addition, the Navy app features an integrated calendar that shows key dates for Sailors, such as advancement exam dates, when evaluations are due and selection board convening dates. The calendar also displays key dates in naval history and local events.
Prior to launching the app, approximately 20 Sailors and family members tested the app for functionality and usability on multiple platforms, including computer tablets and smartphones.
"Before the public launch, we wanted to share the app with the fleet and with ombudsmen, and encouraged them to share with their families," said Kirby. "Their feedback will help make it better. This is for them, so it's got to meet their needs."
Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class Jennifer Nguyen, with Commander, U.S. Third Fleet, was one of the beta-testers and said she liked the functionality of the interactive map.
"It was great to click on one of the [icons] for each command and be linked to their pages and learn more about my potential next duty [station]," Nguyen said.
However, she wished the calendar was customizable or was able to be synchronized with her own smartphone's calendar.
Chris Madden, director of Navy Media Content Services, managed the app's development and leads the team that will maintain the app, said this is exactly the type of feedback he was hoping to garner from the beta-testers.
"We want to hear all types of feedback to make the Navy app as useful a tool as possible for the fleet and the general public," Madden said. "We'll compile all feedback to see what's feasible to update before the launch later this month and see what fixes may have to wait for future updates."
Megan Swing, the U.S. Fleet Forces Command ombudsman, also a beta-tester, said the Navy app seemed like a great tool for family members.
"Everyone can benefit from this application - spouses, dependents, family members," said Swing. "[The app provides] pertinent information on one page."
Top content within the app will be updated several times throughout the day, giving users access to the latest information. The official U.S. Navy app will be available for download on four major computer platforms Apple-iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Chrome Book online markets. The initial download is approximately 17MB.
The Navy app requires Internet access to function and access current information and media content.