The annual World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition got off to a roaring start today (and they haven't even opened the doors to the show floor yet!!)
I and my colleague Jon Ostrower have been filing copy throughout the day so be sure to check out Flight Global's new in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) channel for all the latest headlines.
You'll see a couple of standouts, however, like Panasonic's decision to make its iPod/iPhone connectivity tool, eXport, available to competitors (will Thales ink a licensing agreement with Panasnoic?) and, with that, Panasonic's revelation to yours truly that Griffin Technology is now manufacturing eXport and selling it to airlines, duty free folks and via the Apple online store.
I even got my hands on one of the first Griffin-made eXport video cables. Now all I need to do is fly on a carrier that offers iPod connectivity such as United Airlines (available in some of its first-class cabins) or Continental Airlines' newly configured Boeing 777s. Check out Jon Ostrower's blog for a timeline scoop about Continental's debut of its BusinessFirst seat.
I wonder how many other IFEC vendors will follow Panasonic's iPod Merge strategy, which goes a significant step further than the current iPod Connect offering by allowing content metadata to be integrated or 'consumed' into the graphical user interface (GUI) and displayed to the passenger via the IFE screen.
The answer, says Perlman, is that other vendors are welcome to do whatever they want with eXport once they sign a licensing agreement for it.
Key quote: "We're trying to separate ourselves from the value chain.