You know those telephones in the business class section of certain planes? You know how those in-flight calls probably cost you like $20 a minute just to tell your significant other that you’re still in the air and will likely be late for your anniversary dinner? Well, they could be getting a little more interesting.
The typically boring beige in-flight telephone that looks like it was pulled from the 80s could be soon replaced with something much more interesting: Google Android. Aircell is probably one of the best known names in the in-flight phone business and they’ve just revealed the Aircell Smartphone. And yes, it’s got Android going on.
Yes, it still does the voice call thing, but it can also be used for “a full range of multimedia capabilities not previously seen in handsets designed for inflight use.” I imagine the in-flight data would be slow and expensive, but at least it might have Angry Birds. You are flying, right?
Rounding out the specs are a 3.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, audio jack, Bluetooth, and wireless or wired operation. Look for them to start hitting birds in the sky near you later this year.
RENO, NV [AEA International Convention & Trade Show] – March 23, 2011 – Aircell, the world’s leading provider of inflight connectivity, today unveiled the Aircell® Smartphone, a next-generation cabin handset designed specifically for business aircraft. With intuitive, menu-driven features, the Aircell Smartphone allows passengers to place and receive voice calls aboard business aircraft as easily and conveniently as they do with mobile phones on the ground. In addition, its flexible Android OS platform sets the stage for a nearly unlimited set of rich-media features and functions in the future. First shipments are scheduled for late 2011.
Among a host of groundbreaking capabilities, the new Aircell Smartphone will provide the best voice quality in aviation through a number of embedded technologies and design features. At 3.8” diagonally, the Aircell Smartphone’s bright, color touchscreen display is the largest the aviation industry has ever seen in a telephony device. It exceeds the size of most consumer smartphones on the market today.
“The result of extensive industrial design and human factors study, the Aircell Smartphone epitomizes the notion of next-generation inflight communications. It gives passengers exactly what they want – the best-sounding, best-looking and easiest-to-use handset in aviation,” said John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President & General Manager, Business Aviation Services. “We’ve received extraordinary feedback from all corners of the industry on this achievement, and we look forward to bringing it to market later this year.”
Key Benefits & Features
Designed specifically for aircraft use, from the ground up
Big, bright, 3.8” color touchscreen display – the largest in the industry
Flexible, future-minded Android OS platform
Bluetooth-compatible for hands-free operation
Ingenious design for interchangeable wireless or wired operation
High-touch design with expert use of colors, materials & finishes
So easy to operate, no user manual is required
Drop-in replacement for current Aircell Axxess flush-mount handsets
Integrated audio jack for wired headsets & earbuds
The Aircell Smartphone will be backward-compatible with all Aircell Axxess communications systems currently in production, and available as a drop-in replacement for the company’s prolific Aircell Axxess flush-mount handset. It will also be fully compatible with the company’s forthcoming Gogo Biz™ Voice service via the ATG 4000 and ATG 5000 systems. Shipments of the new Aircell Smartphone are scheduled to begin in late 2011 and pricing will be announced prior to that time.