Hot on the heels of the recent announcement that iPads had been certified for use on the flight deck during all phases of flight, American Airlines announced today that they will be offering the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet, an Android-based tablet, as an in-flight entertainment (IFE) option on transcontinental US flights and international flights served by 767-300 aircraft. The initially announced routes are:
Transcontinental Flights Served With 767-200 and 767-300 Aircraft Between:
- JFK and Miami to/from Los Angeles and San Francisco
Transcontinental Flights Served With 757 Aircraft Between:
- Boston and Los Angeles
International Flights Served With 767-300 Aircraft to and From:
- Europe and South America
American’s release says the tablets will come pre-loaded with movies from Paramount, TV shows and music, and will have access to games and on-board Wi-Fi in the near future.
The ability to connect to on-board WiFi is interesting, especially from a privacy standpoint. [Disclaimer: I work full time for MobileIron, a company that provides security and provisioning solutions for mobile device management, however this blog is my personal work separate from MobileIron.] If there’s going to be personal information used on a device (a username/password to webmail, Facebook, or someone’s AAdvantage account, for instance), then there needs to be a system in place to ensure that the information is affirmatively wiped between each use/user. I would also imagine that American wants to secure the content on the device such that it’s not just “raw” movie files and audio where simply plugging it in to a laptop with a cable would allow for the transfer/copying of the movies and music (copyright/piracy concerns!), and wants to prevent the “side-loading” of potentially malicious apps onto the device. I know that Samsung provides significant API’s - bits of code to allow deeper security hooks – to MDM vendors and MobileIron implements these as part of it’s protection for Android devices, so I’m interested to see how American has secured these to prevent data loss and privacy breaches.
What are your thoughts on the tablets? Helpful, or (like me) do you carry your own and not need one provided by the airline? What’s your take on whether you’d use such a device on-board to access email and other personal content, not knowing how/if it’s properly wiped after your use?