This year we are going to do something different. The Hot Topic will summarize all we saw at Long Beach and then as the weeks roll on, we will dig deeper into the ones you need to hear about. Firstly, the thousand pound gorilla in the room was the Android operating system, the background chatter was Ka Band inflight connectivity, and the word on almost everybody’s lips was ‘iPad’ – not to mention that silly stand-up seat with the 23 inch pitch. Having said that, we will probably look into each topic separately, but for now, let’s press on. On the last day of the show, and after he left, John White announced his retirement from the Avion magazine. He exited without fanfare, we hear, to avoid all the “good bye’s”, so, here is a public one – Thanx John, for it was you who got us int this mess!

Next, our overall impression was, from a technical perspective, great. Some vendors were mumbling about the lack of visitors, but you can decide for yourself by looking at the show photo’s on Flickr. At almost every booth we visited, and we visited over 20, there was something we had not seen or heard about. We do this because there is a lot of innovation that gets overlooked or doesn’t warrant the benefit of a press release. Not to mention the newbies, characters, friends, and the just plain weirdos. After all, isn’t that why you read IFExpress? Lastly, we are sorry for those vendors we missed. Mostly, you were busy with customers and we understand that. If you feel that your product or service was slighted, send a note to and we will follow up with a telephone or email interview!

Astronics: Big with the power folks is a new set of USB seat power outlet concepts. They are also introducing a 225 VA ISPS with a USB power outlet at each of 3 seats as well as 110 AC.

ACS: Aircraft Cabin Systems rolled out their new thin line of LCD aircraft displays. Looks to be 33% slimmer than the standard size and ACS offers 4 sizes up to 42″.

AirCell: We got a good AirCell update from John Wade. Over 1,015 aircraft jets installed with paid sessions going up each month and no peak in sight. The bizjet market is smoking and the order from NetJets (approx 800 in fleet) is certainly a big deal!

Carlisle: Cable maker, Carlisle, displayed their usual offering of aircraft cable assemblies and we were interestingly challenged to pick out the ones made in their offshore factories. Their latest Ethernet product looked no different than their other products and we were a bit surprised to find out they were made in their Dong Guan (Shenzen) factory. The company controls the process, quality and sourced materials – their AS9100 certification is proof.

digEcor: Brent Wood and Adam Williams laid out their new inflight shopping portal “Mill Creek Shoppe” and demo-ed the L-7 player (Lafeel) with a great built-in mouse. Watch for new advertising co-op features that support independent advertising suppliers. Oh, and we thought their flying monkey was great fun!

Goodrich: Recent acquirer of TEAC, their show entry featured their V01HDD player that has a Blu-ray drive for more storage via DVD disk. We noted a terrific Electronic Flight Bag device on the table but it was a bit early to tag an IFE application with it. Alas, sad news for IFE as Al McGowen is now Mr. Military.

IMS: The RAVE system is now ready for prime time and the final product (powered hot-swap and all) has quite a few features that looked VERY airline friendly. Rumor has it that a few customers have stepped-up to the plate already. Joe Renton pulled us aside for a sneak peek that their new COTS re-purposed player, and yes, it is built by IMS. Check out Flickr.

Inflight Peripherals: The Geoff and Claire show was a hit again this year, and yes, they had a contest to assemble one of their inset headphone jacks. The ‘wall of shame’ told the whole story with one entrant blowing away the competition with a speed around 10 seconds.

Interact: Seldom do we cover content providers, however, this year, we hope to do a Hot Topic devoted to these folks. We like their focus on customer support and regional content in providing audio and video programming, creative content/content management, and encoding services.

Airbus KID-Systeme: Perhaps the biggest effort we saw at KID was their integrated seat power program with Recaro. We saw the production prototype and here is a picture of the inseat-power-supply-that-mounts-in-the-seat-beam.

Live TV: After looking at the Iridium satcom hardware for 2 days, we finally got the story on the LiveTV Aero OpenPort system. Using the 66 satellite constellation, they have found a way to deliver 128K continuously to the aircraft. Don’t scoff, this a PERFECT blackberry data solution, served in the airplane via Wi-Fi. Here’s the clincher, they can demonstrate offering it as a freebie! BTW, Mike Moeller gets our nod as the best pitchman at the show!

Lumexis: The F.O. IFE company out did last show record by bringing a COMPLETE wide-body IFE system, up and running to the show. Some 243 seats worth of IFE (fiber-to-the-seat), and 2 small servers (4 MCU each). This is the low calorie IFE winner, and frankly, we do not expect the hardware to return to Irvine!

Mezzo : Dave Sampson, CEO, shared his new COTS Personal Media Player with IFExpress.

SmartJog: Wow, did Christiane Ducasse and Jodynne Wood knock our socks off! Smartjog is THE purveyor of digital content between IFE entities. By placing a Smartjog server/hub at each end of a communication line, security and daft integrity is guaranteed. These folks are suck a household name that they have become a verb – “Just Smartjog it to the customer”. Hot Topic territory for sure.

Panasonic: The Cool Room is back! What more can we say? A lot, in fact. Too much to cover it here. Suffice it to say, we saw all the bells and whistles in the CR, got the lowdown on Ku and Ka Bands, sat in the integrated seats, played with the Android IFE system, watched a 3-D interactive product, and visited the Panasonic App store. We promise a Hot Topic on each of these topics as there is NO WAY we can do it here. As an afterthought, there is no one that can throw a party like Panasonic – thanx!

Thales: Winner of the Best Innovation Technology with their TouchPMU, the folks we met with were justifiably proud of their tethered handset-entertainment player-controller. A perfect product for single aisle player and on twin aisle planes, it is a great controller that can be used to control entertainment or games on a bigger screen. Oh yes, there was an app on that – the OS is Android. Thales demonstrated a very flexible integrated seat that is in an very mature state (orders on the way) and a novel LCD/mirror display. What a bizjet product!

Rockwell: New kids on the block, Joel Otto and John Darvell talked up the Digital Paves (D Paves) but would not talk to much about the Android OS that others were exploring. We think the next IFE show will bring some Rockwell surprises and they may first show up on the Bizjet side.

VT Miltope: What’s not to like with the ‘OEM supplier to the aviation industry’? As a platform agnostic, peripherals and system supplier, Bob Guidetti told IFExpress that they have been spec-ing and supplying connectivity products for B787, A350 and B777 aircraft and now have a MIMO Wi-Fi WAP.

Honorable Mention: We cannot let this opportunity to go by without mentioning 2 of the “little guys”. Sitting off in one corner was Plane Bill and in the other G.U.E. Tech. We loved both these companies for different reasons. Plane Bill, the Italian software innovator showed us a fistful of Android apps, specifically designed for airlines. After getting infused with Android platforms by all the big players, here sits Plane Bill, with some of the most innovative software we have seen. They even developed an app that an Android Smartphone equipped Muslim can use to find Mecca directions for prayer. On the other hand we really do not have a clue what G.U.E. Tech does. Having said that, we know that it has something to do with 3D rendering engines, game software, and generally computer graphics. Hey, any company that authors a video game called “Lurking Horror” cannot be all bad! What was so doggone impressive was the enthusiasm of it’s CEO, Max Lingua, and his complete love for what he does. Please visit their websites and send some business their way – they are gems!