Android flies high on Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Boeing has side-stepped Apple's iPad and chosen the Google Android operating system to power custom-built in-flight entertainment units.

Boeing has side-stepped Apple's iPad and chosen the Google Android operating system to power custom-built in-flight entertainment units.

(Credit: Boeing)

According to Australian Business Traveller (AusBT), all 787 Dreamliner aircraft will be fitted with servers and headrest terminals running Android, delivering movies, music and the possibility of other Boeing-designed apps as well. The Android platform would also give Boeing the flexibility to install a large collection of games for passengers to play during long flights, though this wasn't referred to specifically in the AusBT article.

Interestingly, only economy class passengers will have touchscreens installed for personal viewing, with passengers travelling in either business or first class having too much leg room to make touchscreens a viable option. Boeing's Mark Larson told AusBT that the company is working on a gesture-based prototype to overcome this, allowing passengers to control their displays by waving their hands in front of a sensor.

Airlines purchasing a 787 plane will be able to choose between a Panasonic- or Thale-branded in-flight entertainment solution, with Aussie airlines Qantas and Jetstar already having ordered 50 new 787s between them. This is despite Jetstar having trialled iPads last year and Qantas on the verge of its own trials next month.

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