United and Continental plan to roll out in-flight Wi-Fi during 2012


Announced out of Chicago earlier today, United Continental Holdings announced a partnership with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to bring in-flight Wi-Fi access to passengers of over 300 United and Continental flights starting around the middle of 2012. The satellite-based Wi-Fi technology will eventually cover the entire fleet of planes by the end of 2015. According to officials at the company, Panasonic’s Ku-band satellite technology offers faster speeds than air-to-ground connectivity which is the technology used by Gogo Inflight Internet service. Some of the companies that use Gogo’s service include U.S. Airways, American Airlines, Delta, AirTran and Virgin America. 

united-planeWith the higher speeds, United and Continental plan to wireless streaming of video content. While the airlines may force customers into watching a selection of in-flight entertainment choices over the Wi-Fi connection, it’s possible that the higher speeds will allow access to applications like Netflix or Hulu Plus on a tablet, smartphone or laptop computer. The Panasonic system will be installed within Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft as well as Airbus 319 and 320 planes. While this announcement covers the entire fleet of planes between the two companies, Continental Airlines previously announced that 200 planes currently equipped with DirecTV access would start receiving the Wi-Fi upgrade as early as January 2012.

United Continental Holdings didn’t indicate any pricing model for the Wi-Fi service as of yet. Costs for Wi-Fi service on flights typically range from about $10 to $50 for laptop access and between $5 to $20 for access on a mobile device like a smartphone. JetBlue is one of the few airlines that offers free Wi-Fi access, however users are limited to instant messaging, email and light Web browsing. Southwest doesn’t provide full Internet access on flights, but the Wi-Fi equipped planes allow travelers to connect to a portal that includes games, shopping and a flight status tool. It’s surprising that more airlines aren’t offering free Wi-Fi service to attract more customers and fill typically empty seats. 

Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.

Google Translate updated to reduce gender bias in its translations

Google is changing how Google Translate offers translations. Previously when you entered a word like doctor, Translate would offer a masculine interpretation of the word. Now, Translate will offer both masculine and feminine versions.

Encryption-busting law passed in Australia may have global privacy implications

Controversial laws have been passed in Australia which oblige tech companies to allow the police to access encrypted messages, undermining the privacy of encryption with potentially global effects.

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

5G: Why everything is about to change

Curious about the many ways 5G will change and enrich your life? Here’s our guide to all things 5G.