Virgin America upgrades inflight entertainment system with Android, SSDs

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Virgin America’s inflight entertainment system Red was already something of a technical marvel , at least compared to offerings from other airlines. Sporting 9-inch, 1024×600 pixel resolution touch screens, USB ports, power outlets, Ethernet sockets, and a custom Linux-based OS, Red gave the airline industry a serious kick when it launched in 2007. But the competition is heating up, and with Emirates and Singapore Airlines taking the top spots for inflight entertainment last year, Virgin America has decided that it’s time for a upgrade. Enter the latest version of Red, this time built on a new Android-based based platform, which the airline is planning to beta test on 18 aircraft by the end of the year. The Red beta makes use of Panasonic’s latest Eco V2 inflight system (the current version of Red also runs on Panasonic hardware), which pairs a 9-inch (or 11-inch) 720p capacitive touch screen with the company’s latest Android-based software. The screens will also sport integrated audio jacks, USB sockets, and a credit card reader, and decode HD video at 720p. Panasonic says it’s offering out software development kits to airlines, including a rack simulator, example code, developer tools, and a custom API. Virgin America claims that using Android will make the system easier to maintain and upgrade. With many developers already intimately familiar with Google’s OS, the airline should have an easier time adding new services to the platform. The first of those new services to hit the beta are new games, including retro classics like Atari’s Asteroids and Pac-Man , as well as an upgraded interactive map that finally recognises pinch and swipe gestures. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Virgin America upgrades inflight entertainment system with Android, SSDs

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