Though we've seen Android run on a number of devices beyond just phones and tablets, it's always nice to see another company turn to Android for specialized purposes. It seems that Boeing is doing just that, having recently unveiled Android-powered entertainment systems for their 787 Dreamliner jet.

Boeing announced that it will offer two different entertainment systems for the 787, both of them running Android - the Panasonic eX3, and the Thales TopSeries Avant. However, more specific details have only been announced for the Thales model, which was shown off during a demonstration at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The TopSeries Avant was shown in both 10" and 17" sizes, and for such specialized devices they feature fairly modern specs: a dual core ARM processor and 1GB RAM, and a whopping 256GB of storage, due to the fact that they are primarily media devices.


Because their interface is so customized, it's difficult to tell what version of Android they are running, but given the time that these were produced, it's likely that they are running something fairly dated such as Android 2.3 or even 3.0. Fortunately, the 787s that these devices will be featured in will have access to in-flight Wi-Fi, so this issue could be easily remedied with (I apologize in advance for this pun) an in-the-air update.

The Android-powered entertainment system has one last trick up its sleeve (though it is an optional addition and its availability may not be as widespread as the Avant itself). The Touch Passenger Media Unit (or TouchPMU) is a 3.8" handheld Android device meant as a companion to the Avant, with the ability to do just about anything your Android phone can do. There is no word, however, on the specs of this device.


As of 2012, just 14 of 859 orders for the 787 Dreamliner have been filled, so it may be some time before passengers get a chance to experience Boeing's new Android-powered entertainment devices. That being said, it is a nice trend to witness, and one that shows the power and versatility of the Android platform.

Source: ExtremeTech

  • ky

    Very cool

  • New_Guy

    An in-the-air update... Ha!

    • Himmat Singh

      You btecha'.

  • Tyler Chappell

    It is always nice to see Android get implemented in ways that demonstrate its versatility over iOS.

  • http://twitter.com/homncruse Aaron Burke

    But can we connect with ADB? ;)

  • http://twitter.com/japborst Jelmer Borst

    It would be cool if you could connect to the internal WiFi and connect with your specific media player using a QR code for example (same as web.airdroid.com has). That way you could install an app and use the media player with your own device, without them actually having you provide you with one.

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    Following this article, United ordered 100+ 787s!

  • JG

    I get that its a media device & all, but.... 256GB of storage... Really??? I'm assuming by the look of the picture, passengers probably won't be getting their hands on these devices until after they're on the plane. At which point - are they really going to have enough time to download 256GBs of data? Also, the Nexus 7, a device one theoretically will be using on a daily basis, is also (I believe) designated a media consumption device. Since one is using it on a daily basis, it'd make sense to load one's 60GBs of MP3s, etc... But it only has 16GBs of storage (max). I'd assume some where in that ball park would be enough for a device one will only have access to for a few hours... Isn't the big push to stream everything these days and get rid of local storage all together?

    Also, I'm assuming these devices are going to have a high turn-over rate - probably a dozen or so individuals accessing them on a daily basis. I'm wondering how they're going to protect our passwords... What would stop be from launching an app that'll harvest the device's cached memory & pull out the previous user(s)'s username & password? I'm kind of thinking maybe our "red-headed step-OS" Chrome might be a better option, since Chrome is designed to function on devices without local storage. Once I sign off (a master log-off could be rigged to be executed by a flight attendant once the plane is empty in case someone forgot to do so themselves) all of my passwords and such would would be stored on the cloud, ready for me to access from home etc, but inaccessible to anyone who might sit down after me...

    • Himmat Singh

      That's probably the local storage on the device. They'd have tons of games, movies and music on there already waiting for you. You'd be damned to think they'd let you download whatever you want (it'll all probably be on the device already anyways).