e.Digital suspends development of next generation portable IFE

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Portable in-flight entertainment (IFE) specialist e.Digital is suspending development of its next generation eVU players after posting a fiscal first quarter net loss of $350,000.

Although the firm's net loss is narrower than the $554,000 loss it recorded in the year-earlier quarter, company president and CEO Fred Falk says portable IFE business conditions for new hardware "are still not showing improvement" despite adding Sri Lankan Airlines as a new eVU customer last quarter.

"We are suspending further development of our next generation eVU hardware and instead we are updating [the current] eVU's housing with a dramatically enhanced new look as well as making other hardware improvements," says Falk.

He adds: "Should IFE business conditions improve or we partner outside of portable IFE, we can rapidly complete the next generation upgrade. We are receiving increasing interest in our IFE services and we're working to grow this side of the eVU business to profitability."

Separately, e.Digital reports that the lawsuit it filed last year in the US District Court for the District of Colorado is progressing.

After receiving $11.4 million in licensing revenues from seven companies from its first round of flash memory-related cases, e.Digital in November 2009 filed a patent infringement lawsuit against 19 firms that make such products as digital cameras and mobile phones.

The company alleges that products made by Canon, Nokia, Panasonic, Samson Technologies and 15 others infringe on its patent portfolio that comprises techniques in the use of flash memory technology in recording products.

To date, three of the 19 companies in the second round have settled and entered into licensing agreements, says e.Digital, noting that a Markman hearing has been scheduled for 28 January 2011 in connection with the second round intellectual property cases.