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American Airlines as tablet showroom: Apple enterprise grade, Samsung consumer

Airlines are sending a message about tablet use cases. Apple's iPad is cockpit critical. Samsung's Android army is for the cabin.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Take a captive bored audience stuck on a plane. Add consumer electronics. Stir with inflight entertainment and flight plans and you get an interesting tablet face-off and a tug of war between business and consumer uses.

American Airlines on Tuesday got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to put Apple iPads in the cockpit in all phases of flight. A day later American Airlines touted Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 devices in the cabin for inflight entertainment.

The airline, which filed for bankruptcy recently, said in-cabin Galaxy Tab devices will be loaded with moves and new releases. The Tabs will be on first and business class transcontinental flights.

Note the difference between the use of Apple's iPad vs. the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Samsung is all about consumer. Apple has the enterprise strategic role, the B2B app store and the applications needed for flight plans. Most of the iPads used by airlines feature the Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck app. Jeppesen is a unit of Boeing and has delivered flight plans, navigation and other data to pilots via paper.

As a frequent flyer, I'm happy to take this split between Samsung and Apple tablet uses. I've endured way too many force closes on the Galaxy Tab to want it in the cockpit.

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