In a major shot in the arm for Microsoft’s struggling Windows RT platform, Delta Air Lines has announced that later this year it will begin deploying the company’s upcoming Surface 2 tablet across its Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets with the aim of “replacing heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts and aircraft operating and reference manuals.” It expects to complete the rollout by the end of 2014, by when a total of 11,000 such Surface 2 electronic paper bags will have found their way into its cockpits.
According to the airline, the Windows RT 8.1-running Surface 2 will let pilots access navigational charts, reference documents and checklists while saving the company “$13 million per year in fuel and associated costs.”
“With the Windows RT 8.1 operating system, pilots will be able to open two applications side-by-side, offering, for example, the opportunity to assess weather information alongside proposed flight paths,” the airlines said in a press release. “The Live Tile user interface in Windows 8.1 can feed up-to-the-minute information to crew members while the Surface 2's true high-resolution 1080p touchscreen display adds detail to maps and other resources.”
Although by no means insignificant, the sale of eleven thousand units may not be enough to change the overall complexion of the tablet race. Microsoft needs to do more if it wants to save Windows RT.