Steve Jobs made headlines last month when he publicly dissed Adobe and its Flash technology and declared HTML 5 as the future of interactive media on the web. Though not as bold in its pronouncement, Virgin America has confirmed that it is switching to an all featured, interactive non-Flash website and has become the second high profile technology company to publicly dump Flash in lieu of HTML. According to Virgin CIO Ravi Simhambhatla, HTML will provide all the functionality Virgin’s website will need and will open up the company’s website to all mobile users regardless of platform and Flash support. Virgin is turning its sights towards mobile users as it seeks TSA approval for an electronic boarding pass that can be displayed on a mobile handset. If Virgin wants to grab the largest number of potential customers, it can not utilize Flash and risk excluding those users of non-Flash handsets, most notable of which is the iPhone. Not only is it interesting to see the HTML vs. Flash war play out in the technology industry, it is also interesting to see how Apple, through the success of the iPhone, is indirectly influencing the future of the Internet. But that was part of their plan all along. More →
Internet access and WiFi are becoming ubiquitous these days with coffee shops, libraries, bookstores and even McDonald’s offering some type of access to the net. We have been waiting for an airline to finally offer WiFi and it looks like Virgin America will be the first to offer it fleet-wide. If you subscribe to Virgin’s email notifications, you’ll notice that the airline company will be launching a beta of its Gogo® in-flight Internet service on November 22, coinciding with the first-ever live stream of YouTube. In addition to cash-less ordering of food and drinks, some of the largest behind-the-seat television screens, USB/Electrical/Ethernet ports at every seat and over 3000 MP3s at every seat, this new service is really going to help Virgin America take off. The WiFi will only be a beta at the end of this month but will be 100% live throughout its fleet in the Spring of 2009. Virgin America is now Serving San Francisco (hub), Los Angeles (secondary hub), Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, New York JFK, Washington DC Dulles and soon Chicago.
[Thanks, Roger A!]