Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Emirates selects Windows 8 tablets for in-flight app

Some have said that when consumers think of tablets, they think only of iPads. that doesn't necessarily apply to the enterprise. On Monday, at the Windows 8 launch event in Dubai, airline Emirates announced that it will be deploying 1,000 HP ElitePad 900 tablets across its fleet, along with a Windows 8 app called Knowledge Driven Inflight Service (KIS).

The KIS app was first introduced as in-flight communication and customer relationship management app back in 2004. However, this is a major update, and will allow flight pursers to brief the cabin crew before every flight, conduct in-flight upgrades to business class or first class, and even solicit customer feedback that is immediately transmitted to Emirates HQ upon landing.

Other customer-related data stored in the app will include details of a customer's previous trips, any customer issues, customer preferences (such as food, wine, seating, etc.) and so forth.

While this is a big win for Windows 8, there's a reason behind it that goes beyond tablets: Emirates had already standardized on Windows 7 computers and "needed an operating system that would integrate with our corporate IT environment."

In other words, it wasn't so much that the tablet beat the iPad as it was that the OS matched their corporate needs.

To be clear, the HP ElitePad 900 is a full Windows 8 tablet, not a tablet running Windows RT. Emirates will roll out 100 of the tablets by the end of January, with the numbers rising to 1,000 by the end of 2013.

The device is missing something, though. Due to its resolution, it's missing the Windows 8 "Snap" feature that allows two Metro-style apps to be viewed on-screen. Microsoft requires a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution for the Windows 8 Snap feature to work, and HP's tablet has only a 1280 x 800 resolution.

However, HP made the decision to eschew Snap because this is a business tablet that won't be sold at retail at all. The company wanted a 16:10 aspect ratio, and the highest resolution that Intel's Clover Trail chip will support at 16:10 is 1280 x 800.

A video demo of the app is embedded.

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