When JetBlue initially announced their in-flight “Internet” service it came with much fanfare, but limited functionality. Specifically it was limited to only offering up access to BlackBerry or Yahoo services, a tiny segment of what is actually useful to folks. JetBlue and LiveTV announced an update to their service today, including some critical expansion of the service. From the release:
The expanded services will provide customers with a simple yet extensive search and discover option from Amazon.com, as well as a more diverse email and messaging platform open to both Microsoft Exchange corporate email accounts and leading webmail providers such as Gmail, AOL Mail, Hotmail and Windows Live Mail.
This is a major improvement and makes the service offering useful to a much greater population. And since LiveTV is also licensing the service to other airlines, including Continental, this is a big benefit for more than just JetBlue passengers. I’m not so sure about the Amazon interface; I don’t know that I’d spend my fly time shopping for books, or anything else for that matter, but I do know a few people who might, so maybe that isn’t such a bad plan.
I still do not foresee LiveTV offering full unfettered Internet access in the near future. They own a much smaller piece of the radio spectrum than other providers, so the amount of bandwidth they have available is much lower. Still, having access to email is probably the most significant thing that most folks are looking for, and now LiveTV has enabled that. I might have to up my rating of the offering from abysmal to tolerable, assuming that it actually works as advertised.
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