Android the New Platform for the Next Generation of in-flight Entertainment

September 21, 2010 - Written By Chris Yackulic

Everyone’s favorite Android is going to be the new platform for the next generation of in-flight entertainment and connectivity (known as IFEC in the industry). Panasonic Avionics and Thales announced that the OS will be live on airlines by the end of next year.

At the APEX conference in Long Beach, California, Thales unveiled an Android-based touch passenger media unit (known as the TouchPMU) and the fourth-generation IFEC system. The TouchPMU will be available on Qatar Airways’ Boeing 787 flights. Panasonic says it also plans to utilize Android for its smart monitor systems.

Panasonic Avionics CEO Paul Margis says, “The reason for going down this road is the same reason we were in Linux instead of Windows. This stuff is open and relatively easy to get to and do your own drivers.”

“The TouchPMU will be able to host endless applications. Its mature, open source, web-based platform makes it easy to integrate functionality and leverage existing gaming and application resources,” said Alan Pellegrini, head of Thales in-flight entertainment.

Panasonic, showing its versatility, is showcasing how Android applications can run with the latest versions of its eX2 and current smart monitor systems.

Look for these Android-based IFEC devices from Thales and Panasonic appearing on various airlines by the end of 2011.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this a practical use of a mobile-OS like Android? Do you think airlines around the world will adapt?