“The AURA IFE system is absolutely state of the art – if the year is 2004.”
So said a commenter to my April 22 blog about Intelligent Avionics, which at that time was allegedly working closely with Dell and Microsoft to bring the reality of a PC-in-the-seat to travelers under the name AURA.
Perhaps Intelligent Avionics took heed of such remarks because the firm yesterday announced a partnership with Factorydesign “to design in-seat hardware” and with Reactive “to develop the AURA user interface” for AURA.
And where does Dell fit in? It doesn’t.
Intelligent Avionics business-development VP in the Americas, Rob Britton says:
“As we finalize the production spec for the seat units – what we’re doing right now – the actual hardware components are shifting a bit, and at this point we have not announced the choice suppliers for the devices.
“Thanks to our David Withers, a very talented Aussie (ex-Qantas and ex-Boeing) who wears two hats, as our VP Asia Pacific and VP Engineering, we’ve strengthened the design and architecture from prototype to the production version, which will deliver greater system reliability, and more capability in the seat unit (faster, more powerful processor, for example), and more. It’s getting to be one strong package.
“Software is firm, so to your second question, yes, Microsoft Windows 7 Embedded is still the OS, for lots of compelling reasons – flexibility, stability, huge development community, and more. On the sales front, things are clacking along. We’re getting traction, which is really gratifying.”
You may also recall that Intelligent Avionics had originally set a weight target “for everything” of around 1.5kg per passenger place for a typical 300-seat economy deployment. I asked Britton if this was still the target, and he said: “We’re staying close to the targets; the seat units have crept up a little, but we’re still ultra lightweight.”
So let me get this straight. The AURA system as displayed less than three months ago at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg is no longer being offered. Dell is no longer in the picture. The weight target has crept up. And darn near everything discussed in this video is now inaccurate?
Golly gee, maybe I should announce a new IFE system. I’ll draw it on a chalk board and call it Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay.