Monday, December 17, 2007

Hands-on with BetaBlue, JetBlue's WiFi-equipped Airbus

Generally we're the type to pass out the second we've stowed our carry-on items safely in the overhead bin, but on a recent test flight for a gang of reporters, photographers, Fortune 500 execs, and the obligatory PR team, JetBlue managed to keep us awake by magically letting us communicate with our friends and colleagues on the ground over IM and email. Actually, it takes a lot more than magic for the Airbus A320 named "BetaBlue" to bring limited WiFi connectivity to properly-equipped passengers throughout the single-class cabin: quite a bit of technical and administrative work went into getting this service off the ground, from snatching up and deploying a rare slice of 800MHz ground-to-air spectrum to effectively managing cell tower connections while traveling over 500mph to developing clients that would maximize the precious bandwidth being shared by so many mobile gadget lovers. Keep reading after the break for all of our impressions from this media preview voyage, and don't forget to hit up the gallery below for glimpses of the entire experience along with some of the screenshots you can expect to see in-flight...

Gallery: Hands-on with BetaBlue, JetBlue's WiFi-equipped Airbus

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