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Photo courtesy of TWC Aviation 2011 TECH TALK


By John Pawlicki


Part One of Three: The Battle of the Operating Systems/Platforms


esting war is not amongst the app developers but among the operating system (OS) platform providers, namely Mi- crosoft, Google and Apple (primarily — sorry Blackberry, Linux, WebOS). The winners of this battle will reap rewards as aircraft-related products evolve and are infl uenced more and more by consumer electronics devices. The ultimate prizes in this three-way battle are still to be determined, since aircraft are becoming further connected to the Inter- net wherever they may go, and any Internet-enabled devices on such aircraft will demand access, which will drive rev- enues for the software service providers. We have yet to see how the next generation of devices and services will impact the industry.


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This will be a three-part article which will cover the main tablet and portable electronics operating systems in part one. Part two will cover the most popular apps related to aviation and the fi nal installment will discuss security issues with tablets. It is important to note that we are not considering embedded software contained in various avionics, on- board systems, engines and aircraft parts which contain software. Many of these components typically have


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he market for apps (an abbreviation for applica- tions) for tablet computers and smartphones continues to grow and new aviation-focused apps come onto the market constantly. The more inter-


embedded real-time operating systems (many of which are based upon open-source Linux or some other UNIX- derivative) or small custom-developed software kernels. (A kernel is a computer program that manages requests from application software and translates them into data processing instructions for the central processing unit.) These are from real hardcore software engineers who work with system designers to develop a product which goes through a rigorous certifi cation process. This article pertains to not just tablets being used as Class


1 electronic fl ight bags (EFBs), but to the use of tablet and portable computers being used in the cockpit, cabin management, passenger entertainment, maintenance tasks and related uses.


BRIEF HISTORY OF PORTABLE COMPUTING DEVICES BEING USED ON AIRCRAFT


Back in early 2011, the FAA authorized charter company Executive Jet Management to use iPad records without the backup paper charts, which paved the way for this new tablet device in aviation. Executive Jet used Jeppesen’s Mobile TC app (which was one of the early iPad-based aviation apps to become available, coming out in mid-2010) in its testing. The main driver for this was to eliminate pilots having to lug around cases of paper documents, as well as having greater usability via a well-designed user interface


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