American Extends Long-Term Relationship With The IMS Company, Naming The Solutions Provider Its System Integrator For The Samsung Galaxy Tab Devices

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Ultra-thin tablet replaces the now five-year-old workhorse PED that American and IMS launched as IFE’s first ‘semi-embedded’ portable entertainment device

Brea, CA | September 12, 2011 — In choosing to deploy 6,000 new Samsung Galaxy Tab™10.1 tablets to replace the current personal entertainment devices in premium cabins on transatlantic and some international flights, American Airlines also chose to continue its long-term relationship with The IMS Company, naming the Southern California-based solutions provider as the systems integrator responsible for the repurposing and integration of the world’s thinnest large screen tablet into the inflight environment.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1, that combines the Android platform; ultra-slim, lightweight design; a brilliant 10-inch touchscreen; and an array of applications, replaces the now five-year-old Personal Entertainment Devices (PEDs) that the airline and The IMS Company pioneered as inflight entertainment’s first “semi-embedded” portable media player. The clamshell design of the Fujitsu-based device opened to slide into a seatback shell where the device connected to in-seat power, or could be removed and held on the passenger’s lap or tray table.

“American was the first airline customer for our very first portable media player in 2006,” said IMS’ CEO and founder Joseph Renton, “and we continued the relationship with the 10.6-inch ‘semi-embedded’ PED, followed by three versions of the ARCHOS portable media player. In addition, IMS has provided American with software development services and a range of content management, content acquisition and content loading services.

“We are very pleased that when the time came to replace these remarkably sturdy five-year old players that American did not hesitate to continue that partnership,” said Renton.

“IMS’ focus in repurposing the Samsung Galaxy Tab for the inflight entertainment market was the Android OS (operating system),” said Renton. “In consideration of the increasing importance of the operating systems that support these devices, we have moved toward platform integration rather than device integration as the basis for our handheld service offerings.”
Despite its recent success with the seat-centric RAVE™ IFE system, The IMS Company remains committed to the handheld IFE space for which it was previously best known, and will come to APEX in Seattle with a unique version of its EDGE™ handheld product, based on an Android operating system (OS) and a tablet form factor, according to The IMS Company’s vice president sales and marketing Harry Gray.

“This is a completely new approach to portables deployment in IFE,” said Gray, “which we believe is a game-changer.”
The newest EDGE™ portable media player offers a 10.1-inch capacitive, multi-touch touch screen, with 1280×800 (WXGA) screen resolution, using the Android OS (Honeycomb). The lithium ion battery supports approximately 9 hours of video or 72 hours of music. Content is stored on SD cards allowing the airline to determine the volume of storage needed for its content requirements. EDGE™ is APEX 0403-compliant and supports content playback in H.264, WMV7 and WMV9 with AAC audio playback. The user interface is compatible with RAVE™ embedded IFE.

An Android OS-based solution is not limited to a single device but is designed for use with a range of Android OS devices with limited changes involved in moving from this device to the next. The Southern California company entered the portables market by repurposing consumer off the shelf (COTS) hardware, including Fujitsu and ARCHOS devices, and quickly took leadership in the IFE portables space as a result.

But the direction of COTS technology has recently not been as conducive to a COTS approach, said Gray, until such operating systems as Android OS and Apple iOS began to underpin a new generation of portable devices using a tablet form factor. The operating system approach restores the benefits of leveraging COTS technology, says Gray. Since Android OS is an open standard, guidelines are published to enable developers like IMS to adapt the technology within certain guidelines. In areas such as the ingestion of content, Android OS is therefore easier to adapt to IFE requirements than a proprietary operating system.

EDGE™ gives The IMS Company an opportunity to apply more than 15 years’ experience providing IFE expertise to others by way of engineering services support to its own fully certified AVOD product with a system architecture that reflects its positive experience as the industry leader in portable media solutions.

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