Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Dec 2012 09:05 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes I was on vacation to the US last week, and a few technology-related things stood out to me. One, the in-flight entertainment things aboard international Delta flights are absolutely terrible. Worst software I've ever used, and many of them were plain broken. iPads/Android tablets please, Delta. Second, there were more employees than customers in the Las Vegas Apple Store. Since there were a reasonable amount of customers, there were even more employees. It looked ridiculous. Are they all like that? Three, using a Windows Phone 8 device to mooch off an Apple Store's wifi is strangely satisfying. Four, there are a lot of technology commercials on US TV, and they are all corny as hell. Two iPads playing piano? Children holding a PowerPoint presentation to convince their parents to switch mobile plans? Seriously? Is this what this industry has come to? Five, it's pretty clear iPads and iPhones are way, way, way more popular in the US than in The Netherlands. You see them everywhere, and people display them so openly. It was jarring. In The Netherlands, I always feel as if people are ashamed to take devices out of their pockets in the first place. No wonder US-based writers like Gruber and Arment think Apple dominates everything - if you rarely leave the US, it seems as if they do! Six, and this is not technology related at all but I want to get it off my chest because us Europeans could learn a thing or two from it: Americans are the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with. I knew this from my existing American friends and from my previous trip to the US (Texas, ten years ago), but it bears repeating. Open, interested, kind, helpful, considerate, and nice. Not exactly qualities I'd ascribe to most of my fellow countrymen. Alright, as you were!
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RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by David on Sat 1st Dec 2012 18:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
David
Member since:
1997-10-01

The in flight entertainment systems were not inexpensive. In fact, they were inordinately expensive for the airlines to buy. The reason they are bad is because they aren't mass-market devices, and they're made by specialty manufacturers for a very small market (a few airlines), so they must be produced on the cheap but cost a lot, which is a bad combo, because when they have glitches or break outright, the airline is loath to pay for the kinds of upgrades they really need.

That's why I predict that in flight entertainment is going to diverge into two paths: economy passengers will have simple satellite TV-based entertainment, while premium cabin passengers will be given fully-stocked iPads. Some of the newer and more cutting-edge airlines such as Virgin are already doing the iPad thing, and JetBlue has a pretty foolproof DirecTV-based system.

It's possible that some day the economy cabin will have an actual iPad mini embedded in the seatback (not a handheld one though, because it would be too hard to keep track of them). Now that advanced entertainment software and hardware is being produced at mass-market volumes, the specialty equipment is a dinosaur.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by terrakotta on Sat 1st Dec 2012 19:07 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
terrakotta Member since:
2010-04-21

Why not just have a decent datanetwork (considering the current consoles need one too, I suppose it is already in place) and have a usb port (or more) available at all the seats. That way they can allow the use of electronic devices (the current media systems are electronic devices too, so why the use of other devices is prohibited is kind of weird) during flights, they can offer multimedia they have stored on a disk somewhere in the plane (they need to have it stored right now as well). Using standard components it would be cheap for them to allow their passengers to use multimedia, without them having to buy expensive cheap stuff that's already outdated the moment the plane is bought. It's a win win really, using open standard they can offer video on demand and all that jazz and even get some money out of it all.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by David on Sat 1st Dec 2012 19:31 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Some airlines are already doing this, and for coach passengers they're charging $4 for a movie. You're certainly right that there would need to be USB power to each seat for this to really work, but they need to do that anyway. It's definitely the case that the investment in a server and wifi infrastructure is going to have a shallower obsolescence curve than end devices, and be cheaper to deploy and maintain.

I think it would be a long time before airlines would assume that every passenger boards with a personal device, though.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by zima on Thu 6th Dec 2012 14:46 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

(the current media systems are electronic devices too, so why the use of other devices is prohibited is kind of weird)

Well, they can always undergo (expensive) certification...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sun 2nd Dec 2012 02:51 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

The in flight entertainment systems were not inexpensive. In fact, they were inordinately expensive for the airlines to buy. The reason they are bad is because they aren't mass-market devices, and they're made by specialty manufacturers for a very small market (a few airlines), so they must be produced on the cheap but cost a lot, which is a bad combo, because when they have glitches or break outright, the airline is loath to pay for the kinds of upgrades they really need.

I heard the complete opposite regarding cost. That they (Alaska Airlines anyways) went with the system they use because it was cheap for them to do so. That came from a friend of the family who is a mechanic for Alaska Airlines after I asked him what the deal was with their crappy rental entertainment tablets. Granted he works on the engines but he's definitely in the know about their aircraft in general.

I don't see airlines, especially with domestic or regional service only, making huge investments into stuff like that. It just doesn't make sense.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by David on Sun 2nd Dec 2012 03:36 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

I suspect that he may have meant "the cheapest of those available." In flight entertainment systems cost up to $3 million per plane. I've even heard $3-8 million.

First source I could find: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443916104578020601759...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by shotsman on Sun 2nd Dec 2012 06:32 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Alaskan is one of the more techology adept airlines. I overheard a bunch of AA crew bemoaing their lack of 'stuff'. One of the pilots had a brother who worked for Alaskan. He remarked.moaned that they introduced HUD's and iPads in the cockpit well before other airlines.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Sun 2nd Dec 2012 03:54 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Some of the newer and more cutting-edge airlines such as Virgin are already doing the iPad thing, and JetBlue has a pretty foolproof DirecTV-based system.


I'm sure someone will find this interesting: the last time I flew KLM (Manila->Stockholm) they had a Linux-based in-flight entertainment system in every seat.
Sure beat the one Thai had; no personal entertainment system and almost everything was in Thai. Cost a shitload more than KLM too. Bastards.

Edit: Economy class both times

Edited 2012-12-02 03:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2