In a story with a hook any PR person must drool over, a college drop-out, part-time baggage handler seems to have invented an innovative in-flight entertainment system. The article leaves out way too many details about the system itself, but it appears to be a small, handheld system that has quite a bit of memory. It can store 30 full-length movies along with "hours of digital music, maps, cartoons, sitcoms, language courses and travel promotions." I'm a bit confused if that's an either/or proposition. If you can store 30 hours of movies and another 10 hours of sitcoms, couldn't you store 40 hours of movies (or 40 hours of sitcoms?). The big difference from other in-flight entertainment systems, clearly, is that these don't have to be installed. They can just be handed out. The company he founded to build the device has already signed deals with some entertainment companies to include their content - though, they had to jump through a few hurdles. Part of the solution is that the device uses a proprietary battery that only last 6 hours - so anyone stealing the device isn't likely to be able to use it much longer. Still, I imagine with such a device "shrinkage" is going to be a problem. Users may not know that it won't work after six hours, and even if they do, they may just end up taking the device anyway. Furthermore, by having it as a device, and not protected in the seat, there's a much greater chance of damage. That said, it does sound like a neat device that could be cool to have on some flights. The company is also working on other in-flight technologies, such as a device a flight attendant can use to charge credit cards. Meanwhile, the guy is still employed (though, on a leave of absence) as a baggage-handler for Alaska Airlines.
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