Microsoft announced the 449 USD Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 (with a new Haswell processor from Intel) late last month (September 2013) and they already have a corporate sell – Delta Airlines. Delta, one of America’s leading airline carriers, has made public a plan to purchase approximately 11,000 recently re-launched Surface 2 tablets for use by its pilots. This has been done in a bid to replace the heavy books and flight maps that the pilots carry around in their daily activities both on and off duty.
The Surface 2 tablet is said to be a ‘better wheel’ of theirs and features a more powerful chipset, improved battery life, better screen, more ports, and even the accessories are better. Delta has revealed that it plans to test these new tablets on both the Boeing 757’s and 767’s both series’ which are flown by the same pilots. Speaking in his capacity as VP for Flight Operations at Delta, Steve Dickson reiterated the reason they picked the Surface tablet. He cited that it was relatively easy to allocate separate profiles thus allowing a pilot separate sections: one for private and personal use and another for company or official use although they are still awaiting approval that the device is safe to use in the cockpit i.e. when the flight is in the air. This should come in 2014. An official Microsoft blog indicates that Delta airlines just this August promoted Windows Phone 8, specifically Nokia Lumia 820 devices, among its 19,000 in-flight crews which should help them serve their passengers better. These devices will be used in-flight and connected to Wi-Fi to leverage an Avanade Point Of Sale (POS) experience on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of-sale platform.
Unfortunately, other airlines like American Airlines have chosen iPads as their tablets of choice. iPads offer neither mutli-tasking nor multiple user profiles or as much choice for productivity as Microsoft-OS based tablets like the Intel based Acer Iconia, or Microsoft Surface Tablets can.
The amount paid by Delta for their 11,000 pieces of hardware has not been disclosed. We however expect that Microsoft will charge a more pocket-friendly rate for such a big sale that has moved such a good number or devices less than a fortnight after launch.
Delta Airlines is using Windows Phone 8 devices from a recently Microsoft acquired company, Nokia – Lumia 820, Microsoft Dynamics for Retail for their Mobile Point Of Sale solution and soon, Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. That tells you that Microsoft is indeed moving into the devices and services line it realigned to a few months ago.