Carry Small – Live Large!

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Today’s Hot Topic should really be titled “Bluetooth v3.0” but, to put the ongoing hardware convergence into perspective, we need to look at one concept driving PEDS, or in other terminology, Mobile Phones and Mobile Internet Devices (MID’s). And don’t worry, we have Inflight Entertainment impact…but we will get to that later.

The CS-LL concept can be described as the next movement in the mobile chip world who’s goal is to increase the “gozinta’s” and “gozouta’s” of mobile devices. As we rely more on portable electronics as our go-to device, the ability to interface with new sources such as cameras, Internet, DVD Players, iPODs, keyboards, mice, etc. and new output devices and locations like LCD screens, MP3 players, Internet, etc, your mobile device needs new connections at higher speeds, utilizing less power. Frankly, so does anything working with, talking to, and generally involved with IFE.

Remember the concept of hardware convergence in the first paragraph? Well the latest specification divulged by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group meeting, v3.0, really ramps up the possibility of much higher data rates…up to 24 Mbps! The new Protocol Adaption Layer mimics the 802.11 specifications and with 2 radios (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), the latest Broadcom devices allow bifurcated data channels that let the low speed information move thru Bluetooth connections and the high bandwidth content fly down the Wi-Fi highway. What once was 3 Mbps (v2.1) is now 24 Mbps, and by using the Wi-Fi protocols, better battery efficiency is an additional benefit.

Now, the IFE connection! Bluetooth v3.0 at 24 Mbps would have some potential for data loading. Assume that a 2-hour movie in H.264 or WMV might require 1.2 to 1.5GB of storage, so you can calculate the loading time based on the Bluetooth 3.0 level of deployment. With built in Wi-Fi protocols, one can imagine the flexibility of offering a data loader that operated in wired and/or wireless modes that could be offered as “one size fits all”…it adapts itself to the loading interface.

But the real interesting application is the one using your Bluetooth v3.0 MID on an airplane. That story has already been written and you can view that application in our premier edition of the IFExpress Special Edition – link below. Further, we really got interested in the cabin potential for this new version of Bluetooth after we wrote the story. So, we contacted Ron Chapman, the Australian IFE developer featured in the Special Edition about his expectations and view of Bluetooth in the cabin.

Ron told IFExpress, “The next generation 3.0 phone becomes your inflight video screen, particularly for those regional airlines that cannot afford to install the inseat or overhead IFE. Think of the weight, power, fuel, and cost savings! Safecell airlines will provide the very first step in this direction with some content capability. Both broadcast and individual download. Yes I know it’s a small screen but look at the Nintendo DS, where will it go with Bluetooth v3.0? When we created the Safecell concept in July 2006, I was of the opinion that if your cell phone can replace your camera and MP3, player then it will replace your DVD player – you don’t need to be Einstien to work that one out. So now, it looks like it can happen. With the amount content today’s generation handles and the integration of Bluetooth v3.0 into TV’s, all the IFE manufacturer needs to do is implement a short range low power chip in each screen/seat. Passenegers could then carry on thier own content and watch on the inseat screen (or vise versa) and no more cables to plug in. Obviously battery life is key, but at the moment phones are as good a DVD player and better than laptops on battery.”

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