Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) is set to become the new platform for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) as Panasonic Avionics and Thales introduce the OS on airlines by the end of next year.
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Speaking at the APEX conference in Long Beach, California, Thales announced the launch of a touch passenger media unit (TouchPMU) and fourth-generation IFEC system based on Google's Android OS on Qatar Airways's Boeing 787s. Panasonic said it plans to offer an Android-based IFEC platform for its smart monitor systems.
"The reason for going down this road [using Android] 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," said Panasonic Avionics CEO Paul Margis.
"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 is also showcasing how Android applications can run over the latest versions of its eX2 and smart monitor systems.
Thales and Panasonic's Android-based IFEC platforms will be available by the end of 2011.
Original article published in Flightglobal.