Airlines including the UK's EasyJet
and Malaysia's AirAsia
are deploying software developers
to create mini gadget programs for Microsoft
's newest version of Windows computer operating system.
The Seattle-based software giant released its Windows Vista
as an update for the XP operating system last week. One of the new features of the system is the addition of permanently connected mini programs called Gadgets
. Several airlines have developed branded gadgets linked permanently into the company's reservation system and allowing the customer to preselect their own routes, credit card details and reschedule flights. Since the gadgets always run in the background on a sidebar and do not rely on the potential passenger logging onto the airlines' web sites, airlines see enormous sales potential, says Microsoft.
Microsoft Windows client business group UK director Cynthia Crossley says: “EasyJet was one of the first partners to develop a specific application based on Windows Vista. The range of information available real-time to the desktop through their application is impressive.”
Gadgets are based on the Dashboard Widgets
developed by Apple Computer
for its 2004 Tiger upgrade to its OSX
operating system. Few airlines have taken the opportunity to develop sponored Widgets due to the dominance of Windows in office work. However, Flight Tracker
, in which you can enter an airline, flight number and destination or departure city to track flights in progress on a map, has proven to be one of the most popular.