Back in December, JetBlue rolled out its plane called Beta Blue. This plane was set to be its testbed aircraft. It became the first airline to offer free inflight email and IM, but it was highly restrictive. You could only check your Yahoo! account or use your Blackberry email. Now, it's getting some more teeth.
It didn't surprise me to see them start with those two partners, because I'm sure that both Yahoo! and RIM (maker of Blackberry) poured a bunch of money into the project. But guess what? We're now 6 months later, and it appears the exclusivity agreement is over. Now you can check corporate email that uses Microsoft Exchange, GMail, Hotmail, and Windows Live Mail. Oh, and you can surf a simplified Amazon site as well. I'm sure Amazon paid a pretty penny for that privilege. Just one problem.
It's still only on one lousy airplane. Seriously guys. Let's get this moving. If you're gonna do it, then start rolling it out on other aircraft.
The airline's Live TV subsidiary is really investing in this product, which they call Kiteline. Remember those old Verizon Airfone systems that cost $12,000 a minute to barely be able to hear someone on the ground? Well, Live TV is buying that whole network of 100 towers on the ground to help power Kiteline. They're really beefing this up, and that can only mean that more robust systems are on the way. Let's hope those robust systems will support more than one plane.