The rise and rise of tablet computers has entered a new phase this week, with the announcement that American Airlines will begin offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab to its business and first class flyers later this year on certain routes.
This tablet thing is getting serious. Since Apple released the iPad early last year, rival tech giants have been cranking out competing devices at a blinding pace. Research by The Nielsen Company suggests that 35% of tablet owners now use the devices as their primary PC, and tablets are rapidly eclipsing laptops and desktops for day-to-day computing.
So the Tab, it seems, is here to stay. American Airlines is seeking to cash in on this tablet revolution and portray themselves as a cutting-edge modern airline. They’ve got the jump on their competitors, as the first North American airline to incorporate a branded computer into their flights. These Samsung gadgets will replace the standard entertainment system, offering passengers an enhanced viewing experience and more distractions from the monotonous pain of air travel.
So what does this mean for the average traveler? Right now, not a whole lot. The Galaxy Tabs will initially only be available in premium cabin classes, putting them out of reach of most budget jet-setters. We hope that they’ll trickle down through the AA fleet over time and evenutally include economy class, but how long that might take is anyone’s guess.
If you’re excited by the prospect of tablet computers on flights, here’s something to consider. The Samsung Galaxy Tab retails at $499.99 in the United States, and there are similar tablet products that sell for even cheaper. Buy one for yourself, and every flight you ever take will be equipped with a world class entertainment system! Fly on the cheapest airlines for a couple years, and your tablet has all but paid for itself. While American will use Galaxy Tabs as a prop to sell its most expensive airfares, thousands of passengers are already enjoying the same devices on budget airlines. You just have to bring your own.