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Microsoft gets a big plug, but not without some vicious rumors as well

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL), the world's largest airline in terms of passenger traffic in 2012, gave Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) a big boost when it announced that it would be buying all of its pilots new Surface 2 tablets, which run Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8.1 RT operating system.

I. An Enterprise Win For Microsoft, Windows 8.1

A press release by Microsoft describes:

Device rollout to pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will start later this year and all Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014. 

Delta's flight operations SVP, Capt. Steve Dickson, remarks:

Delta's electronic flight bag running on Surface 2 continues the technological strides Delta has been making to give our crews the best tools to keep them flying safely and efficiently.  This intuitive device puts key information at their fingertips right when they need it. By eliminating paper, we'll reduce clutter and minimize time spent looking for flight information allowing our pilots the opportunity for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground.

The move comes in the wake of shift in how wireless devices on aircraft are perceived.  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has found in recent studies that the weak wireless signals in narrow bands of wireless spectrum used by mobile devices were not capable of interfering with airplane electronics as previously suspected.  This has in turn allowed both pilots -- and potentially even passengers -- to use wireless devices like consumer tablets during takeoff and landing.

Delta Surface 2

In the wake of those developments most major airlines have replaced or are eyeing replacing their "old school" pen and paper flight logs with tablets loaded with custom flight logging apps.  Traditionally an airline had carried up to 45 pounds of paper for flight logs, charts, and manuals.  This massive accumulation of paper not only burned fuel by adding to the flight weight, but also led to occasional errors and time-consuming searches by pilots.

Surface 2

The switch from its current 38-pound paper flight bags to the more modern Surface 2 flight bags is expected to save Delta 1.2 million gallons of fuel annually, while also cutting the airline's paper consumption by 7.5 million sheets.

II. Pilots are Reportedly Disgruntled, Employee Accusations Mount

American Airlines (owned by AMR Corp. (OTC:AAMRQ)), the world's fourth largest commercial airline, adopted Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPads for flight-logging purposes and has been rolling out the tablets over its fleet, ever since December 2011.

The pickup of the Microsoft tablets by an even larger fleet is perhaps the biggest enterprise win for Surface yet.  Delta reportedly aims for "full deployment" by the end of 2014, which would likely mean one Surface 2 for every one of its 11,000 active pilots.

Delta is paying Microsoft around $5.5M USD for the tablets, which will retail for $449 USD on the consumer market when they launch on Oct. 22.  Reports indicate this expense should be more than worth it -- eliminating paper flight logs will save around $13M USD per year.

Surface 2

Even better for Microsoft, Delta has also been giving its 19,000 flight attendants Windows Phone by Microsoft subsidiary Nokia, which used Microsoft Dynamics to track customer in-flight purchases.  The Nokia Lumia 820 began rolling out to flight attendants in August, according to Delta.

III. Pilots Lobbied for iPad (Reportedly), Complain That Delta is "in bed with Microsoft”

The first-generation Surface has proven a major market dud, even if it did receive generally neutral-to-favorable reviews and earn some respectful nods for its slick design cues.  After taking a $900M USD charge (loss) on unsold first-generation Surface tablets, Microsoft has been dumping them off on the market at bargain-bin prices, even giving them away for free as part of its "Bing for Schools" program that's ostensibly supposed to drive search engine traffic towards Microsoft's Bing.

While Surface sales -- as a whole -- have struggled, sales of Microsoft's Windows RT have been especially bad as consumers have forsook the ARM-powered Microsoft devices due to their lack of compatibility with legacy x86 Windows software.  The new deal could provide a boost to the struggling Windows 8.1 RT platform and vindicate Microsoft's decision to cling to poor-selling ARM devices.

But given this lukewarm consumer reception, it's perhaps not surprising to see some employees speaking out against the deal.  One disgruntled Delta pilot reportedly accused Delta's administration of being "in bed with [Microsoft]", according to Apple Insider.  He said, "We fought hard for iPad."

The Apple Insider piece in a roundabout way seems to allege that Microsoft agreed to route its corporate flights through Delta as a kickback to sweeten the deal, and heavily wooed Delta's information technology department staff.

Pilots reportedly wanted an Apple iPad.

As for the specs of the Surface 2 versus its current-generation Apple competition (the fourth generation iPad), the Surface 2 looks good in most categories, except trailing slightly in screen resolution).

The Surface 2 features a lower resolution display than the current fourth generation iPad (1920x1080 vs. 2048x1536).  The devices have comparable physical storage capacity (up to 128 GB), although Microsoft's Windows recovery partition consumes several additional gigabytes cutting the usable storage space.  However, the Surface 2 features more memory (2 GB vs. 1 GB for the current iPad).  Both devices weigh approximately the same, while the Surface 2 is slightly thinner (8.9 mm vs. 9.4 mm for the iPad).  
The Surface 2 packs a faster Tegra 4 processor from NVIDIA.

Both tablets use chips that license ARM Holdings Plc's (LON:ARM) instruction set.  The Surface 2's NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) system-on-a-chip appears to enjoy a healthy lead over the Apple chip in compute-heavy applications, and a narrower lead over its competitor in graphics-bound applications.  Apple's proprietary A6X 1.4 GHz dual-core chip was blown away (499 milliseconds to finish for Tegra 4 vs. 865 ms for the iPad) by the NVIDIA Tegra 4 in early Javascript Sunspider benchmarks, a compute-heavy application, while earning a narrower win in GLBenchmark 2.5, a graphics-heavy benchmark (57 frames-per-second, versus 51 fps for the iPad 4).

Sources: Microsoft, Delta, Apple Insider

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The pilots can go f*** themselves
By amanojaku on 10/1/2013 4:39:50 PM , Rating: 5
There is no difference in functionality between an iPad, Surface, and Android tablet. These aren't devices to be taken home, these are devices for the airline. Based on price, the Surface is already cheaper, and that is most important as it reduces airline operating costs.

The only complaint people have with Surface is the lack of apps, which is unimportant, since Delta will have custom apps built. The resolutions are similar, the Surface display is larger, the weights are similar, the CPU is faster, and with more cores... There is absolutely no reason to go with the more expensive iPad.

What I don't understand is why Delta didn't go with the cheaper Nexus 10, which has better specs than both the iPad and Surface.

By Motoman on 10/1/2013 5:02:23 PM , Rating: 3
What I don't understand is why Delta didn't go with the cheaper Nexus 10, which has better specs than both the iPad and Surface.

Google probably doesn't have a dedicated field sales staff with account managers assigned to every company in a given area, which sends out sales reps who are paid only on their sales to their specified customers.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By aliasfox on 10/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By amanojaku on 10/1/2013 6:18:51 PM , Rating: 1
How is it disingenuous? Delta needs the tablets now. The Surface 2 will be available this month. So far, no iPad 5 release date has been set. So it's only natural for Delta to go with the device it can get its hands on. That's the Surface 2, iPad 4, or some Android tablet.

Surface Pro would not make sense. It's more expensive than any other tablet outside of the 4K resolution tablets. It's also much heavier, and I believe the battery life is shorter.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By aliasfox on 10/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By robertgu on 10/1/2013 7:43:01 PM , Rating: 4
Please stop spreading FUD. If MSFT gives up on Windows RT and ARM; any application Delta creates on these Surface 2 will be using the WinRT runtimes which works on x86 Windows 8.

To reiterate: These runtimes works on Windows RT, Windows 8, and the envisioned future versions of these products. No need recoding needed. If they decide to move to Surface Pro next year, they can load up the programs created for WinRT on their x86 devices without any additional work.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By aliasfox on 10/2/2013 9:32:16 AM , Rating: 1
I guess I was misinformed then - if you can directly use RT apps on Windows 8 then yes, Surface 2 is fine regardless of Windows on ARM adoption.

As a side note, if you can run RT apps on Intel, what's stopping developers from making the next version of their apps in the WinRT runtime?

By inighthawki on 10/2/2013 12:30:26 PM , Rating: 3
As a side note, if you can run RT apps on Intel, what's stopping developers from making the next version of their apps in the WinRT runtime?

I would say the limiting factor is that apps written with the Windows runtime are restricted to fullscreen store apps only, and it somewhat limits the number of API calls you can make from Win32 in order to more "sandbox" the app for security purposes. Many people do not like these restrictions since it means they cannot develop desktop apps nor distribute their work outside of the windows store.

While a storefront like the windows store or the iOS app store is a great centralized location for finding applications on your particular platform, it is very restrictive of people who do not necessarily care about that. To get it on the store, your app must be certified and digitally signed by Microsoft, which can be a time consuming process (does it cost a fee to submit apps and updates, or is this no longer the case?) Sometimes a developer just wants to throw together a quick app that people can just quickly run, which isn't as feasible in such an environment. Imagine trying to write many of the useful command line tools we have today but being forced to make them into fullscreen applications. Not all apps fit that paradigm very well.

By jRaskell on 10/2/2013 12:45:06 PM , Rating: 2
The decision on which tablet to go with was made quite a while ago. Several months at the very least, possibly as much as a year ago, after which all the details of the deal got hammered out, finally leading up to the public announcement. These large enterprise deals don't even remotely happen overnight.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By GotThumbs on 10/2/2013 12:03:12 AM , Rating: 3
Surface Pro runs REAL programs and not just "APPS", so one is not limited as you are with IProducts and IOS7.

The new Intel Haswell CPU is more efficient than those in the Surface Pro gen 1 models.

The Surface Pro II DOES make sense if you want greater options.

Battery life will be better and you can even add the new powered keyboard which adds even more battery supply.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By amanojaku on 10/2/2013 12:38:55 AM , Rating: 5
Surface 2 is $450. Surface Pro 2 is $900. I don't think Delta is interested in doubling its equipment costs. Besides, it's not like pilots need a desktop computer in the cockpit. They're replacing MANUALS. Apps are already more powerful than a stack of paper.

And what is the difference between an app and an application? If it does what you want, it's the same thing. Clearly, Delta performed a trial and determined apps can do what they want. All that's really missing is the ability to run existing x86 code, which the paper manuals can't do, either.

One of the goals is to have a light tablet. Surface Pro 2 is heavier than Surface 2 by 25%. Adding the Power Cover will bump up battery life from five hours to 10, but the cost will be extra weight and an additional $200. It's also not available until 2014. Surface 2 reaches 10 hours without a cover.

Stop assuming your needs are equal to that of Delta's.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Manch on 10/4/2013 5:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
You hit the nail on the head with your last bit "Stop assuming your needs are equal to that of Delta's."

Saving 1.2mil by eliminating the paper. 7.5 million sheets is about 75000lbs. 1 standard US sheet is 1/100th Lb. Assuming the 1.2mil savings is the weight diff between paper bag and tablet it's costing Delta is a little bit over $13.11 a lb every year. If all 11000 pilots receive a surface 2 at 1.5lbs it will cost them only $216,315.00. A Surface Pro 2 @ 2lbs will cost them 288,420.00 of fuel annually. That's a difference of $72,105.00 in fuel. Not a a lot relatively compared to the savings from eliminating paper but ~$72K plus the saving from not buying the pro add up. Delta obviously doesn't pay retail but 11000 Surface 2's at retail cost $4.9 mil. Surface Pros would double that.

Also this electronic flight bag is a work device. Delta will lock them down very much like corporations and the Gov do with work phones/laptops. One thing MS excels at is enterprise services and applications. MS can provide both the front end and the back end of a system. This is something Apple simply cannot compete with. There are enterprise applications for Apple products and some of them are very nice but they have to play with....Windows!

Lastly, these are not a standalone system. These will be integrated into Deltas IT infrastructure. Another advantage of electronic flight bag is changes can be made on the fly vs waiting for a new copy or page corrections to be inserted. Also the pilots will be able to upload what they are doing on the fly as well and you can bet your @$$ they will be using the metrics to identify problems and what not.

So yeah, you may not be able to play the latest iGame but should be pretty awesome for what they need it to do.

By chripuck on 10/2/2013 4:34:06 PM , Rating: 4
Options? It's Delta, they probably want it to do email and run the custom software they'll have written for it. Buying extra specs for the sake of extra specs is idiotic.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Micronite on 10/1/2013 7:03:32 PM , Rating: 5
That's the beauty of coding for Win8/RT. As long as you're coding in .NET, your code should be cross-compatible and it won't matter what the hardware looks like in the next 10 yrs.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By ResStellarum on 10/1/13, Rating: -1
By amanojaku on 10/1/2013 10:52:42 PM , Rating: 2
If you're looking for a platform-independent SDK, my guess is that QT Framework is at or near the top of the list. It does pretty much everything.

Desktop Platforms

Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8)
Linux/X11 (GNU, Linux, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Solaris, AIX, etc...)
Mac OS X

Embedded platforms

Embedded Linux (DirectFB, EGLFS, KMS, and Wayland)
Windows Embedded (Compact and Standard)
Real-Time Operating Systems, such as QNX, VxWorks and INTEGRITY

Mobile platforms

Windows 8 (WinRT)
BlackBerry 10

By inighthawki on 10/2/2013 1:46:52 AM , Rating: 4
That depends, are you referring to using the native API for Linux? In which case you're targeting cross-platform, but only a single architecture.

.NET allows you to target any architecture running windows, so it's somewhat of an orthogonal direction, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with developing for the most widely used platform at the time being. It's not like it's morally wrong to not develop something on closed or proprietary platforms.

If you wanted to be truly cross platform and cross architecture, you can try to target Java or some scripting languages, but then you lose many low level optimizations, so it may only make sense if your application is not real-time or performance sensitive.

Point being, there is no one single answer to everything. Writing code for free/open platforms doesn't solve every problem, and it doesn't make you any better than anyone else. In fact, I believe that just thinking so makes you a significantly worse programmer as it's showing that you don't understand these fundamental concepts.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By osalcido on 10/2/2013 1:59:54 AM , Rating: 2
That's not true.. Windows RT does not run full blown .NET. It's comparable to mobile Java framework. You have to specifically make a Metro-style app for it to run in RT

By inighthawki on 10/2/2013 12:21:17 PM , Rating: 3
I think you're confusing concepts here. Windows RT contains the full .NET package, and is not at all comparable to the mobile Java framework. The reason it is limited to metro only is because Microsoft enforces a restriction on what can run on RT for security purposes. An app cannot run unless it is signed with a digital certificate by Microsoft, which they only do on Store apps. If you jailbreak the device or find a way to sign the apps, then you can compile and run anything you want, including C++ code compiled directly for ARM.

By robertgu on 10/1/2013 7:34:36 PM , Rating: 2
In reference to choosing Surface Pro over Surface 2 cause you believe the code would have to be rewritten if ARM adoption isn't good enough. That is not an issue. Windows Store Apps are coded in WinRT which is a runtime used in BOTH Windows RT and Windows 8 and will be the runtime for all Windows products for the foreseeable future.

By Jeffk464 on 10/1/2013 7:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
If they were to go with an MS product, I really feel that this is one of few instances Surface Pro

Maybe MS gave them a really good deal to try and clear out their supply of RT tablets.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Mint on 10/1/2013 5:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
I actually suspect that apps favor MS here due to the inclusion of Office. If some airplanes need some data/addendumps quickly dumped onto the pilots' tablets for whatever reason, it's easy to put a ppt or xls file there without compatibility/display issues.

I've never been in a cockpit, but if there are a few flat surfaces, I presume that the kickstand is a nice touch as well.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Argon18 on 10/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By grant3 on 10/1/2013 10:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
"most major airlines have replaced or are eyeing replacing their "old school" pen and paper flight logs with tablets loaded with custom flight logging apps."

Maybe you should read the article before jumping right into the comments? Flight logging is very important also.

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/2/2013 7:53:27 AM , Rating: 2
When you are replying to Argon, just remember this is who you are replying too...

Are you that much of a Microsft fanboy wintard that you have to spew insults at others? Really?

Perhaps it's just best not to feed the Trolls....

By flybefree on 10/2/2013 1:02:08 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know why they would say this. We have a device built into all the aircraft called ACARS which does all the flight logging that the company needs for us automatically. They generally only need out, off, on, and in times, which are the times that the doors are closed, aircraft lifts off the ground, lands, and doors are opened, respectively. These are used to compute crew duty times and aircraft flight times.

On older aircraft, sometimes the crew has to do engine performance trend monitoring, and that is done in a binder that stays with the airframe by pen and paper, but most modern aircraft have built-in systems that record that data electronically.

By flybefree on 10/2/2013 12:48:28 PM , Rating: 4
I'm an airline pilot. The kickstand is useless. As a pilot, I would want this device to do the absolute minimum to reduce the possibility of a system crash during a critical phase of flight (I generally use it most during the approach phase). The iPads that we use sometimes overheat and shut themselves down when exposed to direct sunlight, even if the cockpit is cool. This is a serious pain in the ass when it happens. Luckily, we always have two, and try to keep one in the shade. I have backup charts on my Galaxy S4 if those fail. The Jeppesen FliteDeck app may or may not use a pdf format, but all of the approach plates, charts, and company manuals are viewable from within that app. The only thing extra that would be nice to have is a weight and balance app specific to that airplane model. However, I wouldn't like it in an excel sheet, since you can modify the computed cells if you really want to.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Argon18 on 10/1/13, Rating: -1
By amanojaku on 10/1/2013 6:28:46 PM , Rating: 3
How am I a Microsoft fanboy when I asked why Delta didn't choose an Android tablet? You're the *nix fanboy. Wouldn't Android make you happy?

Also, I never mentioned reduced fares. I said operating costs; go read a wiki if you don't know what that is. I know damn well we won't see cheaper flights. The airlines, however, will see more profit.

Third, these tablets will be used for more than PDFs. If you'd bother to read the sources, you'd know that there will be other apps running. Specifically:
With the Windows RT 8.1 operating system, pilots will be able to open two applications side-by-side, offering, for example, the opportunity to assess weather information alongside proposed flight paths. The Live Tile user interface in Windows 8.1 can feed up-to-the-minute information to crew members while the Surface 2's true high-resolution 1080p touchscreen display adds detail to maps and other resources.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By ritualm on 10/1/2013 7:03:34 PM , Rating: 5
Are you that much of a Microsft fanboy wintard that you have to spew insults at others?

Says an Apple fanboy who claims people/companies are retarded not to use iCrap.
As for your clueless reasoning, the price difference between any of these competing tablet products is so negligible, it has zero impact on airline operating costs.

Actually, it will. Apple simply does not stand a chance against Microsoft in the large business/enterprise space, all it has is great hardware - it had abandoned its B2B division long ago.
If you think you're going to get a cheaper fare

or that the airlines are going to be more profitable, because they saved $100 on a tablet, you are so clueless you shouldn't be here.

You'd be surprised at the profit margins these non-discount airlines are used to operate with.
Who told you that custom apps were needed? No custom apps are needed.

Specific details of this Microsoft-Delta contract are not disclosed, either, so how did you know Delta doesn't need any custom apps? You're as functionally insane as the other player haters in the Juice Crew.
Lastly, consider that because the iPad is the market leader by a huge margin

Irrelevant when you're dealing with large business/enterprise requirements.
Do you really think that introducing a clunky unfamiliar Microsoft tablet benefits the pilots in any way? Of course not.

There will be benefits, ofc you either won't see them or you just don't care because it's not Apple.
What an idiotic suggestion.

Everything you wrote is idiotic.

Pot, meet kettle.

By AssBall on 10/2/2013 10:11:09 AM , Rating: 2

"One disgruntled Delta pilot reportedly could not say anything because his mouth was full of Apple wang."

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By sorry dog on 10/2/2013 11:34:06 AM , Rating: 2
I would really like to hear from a real pilot's point of view on this.

Especially considering all the armchair pilots here have now spoken on what is best and whatnot.

By inighthawki on 10/2/2013 12:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I don't see how it matters what tablet is chosen as long as it does what they want it to. Maybe the surface includes a feature set that holds an advantage against competitors - perhaps the inclusion of Office. Considering we do not know exactly how these tablets will be used we cannot know. Just because the devices are meant to read PDFs and replace manuals doesn't mean by any stretch of the imagination that they cannot have other purposes.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By koenshaku on 10/2/2013 11:54:16 AM , Rating: 2
"clunky unfamiliar tablet" It is actually lighter than the iPad. If you are going to be a troll at least take the time to be a troll that reads..

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/2/2013 12:27:30 PM , Rating: 1
If you are going to troll a troll for trolling, you may want to actually respond to the post that said that....

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/1/2013 7:53:51 PM , Rating: 2
Are you that much of a Microsft fanboy wintard that you have to spew insults at others? Really?
Gee, the irony in this sentence...Pot, Kettle, yadda yadda.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/2/2013 10:06:55 AM , Rating: 1
OMG - this guys is such an iTard isn't he.

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/2/2013 10:33:02 AM , Rating: 1
With any luck, they will just ban him, he just insults everyone, in every single post, and it's getting really lame now.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By Guspaz on 10/1/2013 6:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well, aspect ratios are important. The Surface 2's 16:9 aspect ratio is terrible for replacing letter-size paper (if that's what they're replacing).

Here's how they stack up, in order of aspect ratio:

Letter paper: 1.294
Apple iPad: 1.333
A4 paper: 1.414
Nexus 10: 1.600
Surface 2: 1.778

The Surface 2 seems about the worst choice of those if they're replacing letter or A4 paper... the aspect ratio mismatch would certainly eliminate any advantage the larger screen size would have had.

RE: The pilots can go f*** themselves
By ChronoReverse on 10/1/2013 9:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the time, manuals have text broken up into two columns on a letter-sized sheet.

So a 16:9 ratio is perfectly suited for that.

By Guspaz on 10/2/2013 10:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
Errm, no it's not... Now you've got 2.67 aspect ratio columns on a 1.78 aspect ratio screen. That's even worse.

As others have pointed out, reflow would solve this, but PDFs don't reflow.

By jvillaro on 10/2/2013 1:45:47 AM , Rating: 2
You're right!
I really hope someone comes up with something like text reflow in this time and age!

By Jeffk464 on 10/1/2013 7:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
Delta will have custom apps built

This is the expensive way to do things, its a whole lot cheaper if you can get the whole airline industry to use the same stuff.

By FITCamaro on 10/1/2013 7:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Why do they care what kind of tablet it is? It's not for personal use. It's for work. What do they want to look "cool" by having iPads?

By inperfectdarkness on 10/2/2013 9:05:23 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed. Though to be fair, the bulk of the cost savings isn't in reduced weight or reduced fuel consumption. The time savings would be similar regardless of platform (Surface, iPad, Tab/Nexus). The largest amount of cost savings is from the reduced cost of the flight publications themselves. One figure I heard from a pilot I work with is a reduction from $350,000 annual cost for printed pubs to $150,000 annual cost for digital pubs. I believe that was a per-publication cost (i.e. one SET of pubs--which is what ONE flight-crew needs).

Beyond that, there certainly is something to be said for cost savings on lifetime costs for the tablet/device used. A $1,000 device that lasts for 5 years is still superior to a $500 device that only lasts 2. By the same token, a $200 tablet that lasts as long as a $500 one would be a better deal.

Still, the bottom line here is that regardless of what device the airline chose, even with 4 devices per flight-crew...the cost differential isn't going to amount to more than a couple grand per flight crew--a far, far cry from the ~$200,000 savings from just transitioning to digital flight pubs.

By NellyFromMA on 10/2/2013 9:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
Give him a 6. He makes ACTUAL SENSE.

By rudder on 10/2/2013 10:32:04 AM , Rating: 3
One of the reasons for the selection was that there is training software that runs on Windows.

By techguymaxc on 10/2/2013 11:05:06 AM , Rating: 3
You really couldn't be more wrong. There is a reason the pilots want iPads, and it's because of pre-existing software created by and for the aviation industry. The biggest names among aviation-specific apps are either only available on iOS, or their Android counterparts lack in features, stability, or both. There certainly aren't WinRT versions of these apps. The "custom app" solution you propose adds additional cost for the airline (gee, kind of defeats the purpose of trying to save money huh?) as well as additional training for the pilots, plus a lengthy testing period so in the mean time they would pretty much have to use the existing apps anyway!

By chripuck on 10/2/2013 4:31:19 PM , Rating: 4
And don't forget the easy integration with Active Directory and Group Policy. They already have Windows machines they are managing, adding some RT tablets to the mix is a non-event vs. iPads.

By BifurcatedBoat on 10/3/2013 1:39:20 PM , Rating: 4
If Delta's in-house developers are already working on Windows-based applications, then it's probably easier to build apps for Windows RT using familiar Windows development tools than it would be to switch to iOS or Android development.

As others have said, the tablets are being provided just for work use, so it doesn't really matter what else the tablet can do, and it wouldn't be that surprising if some of the pilots who are not familiar with software development wouldn't understand the reasoning.

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