No I did not actually fly the new Air Berlin shorthaul business class cabin this time (although I have flown Air Berlin longhaul business class in the past) but this was on display at the Air Berlin stand at the ITB Travel Fair in Berlin.
Air Berlin recently introduced a business class product also on their shorthaul routes in Europe. In the past all intra-European flights were one-class only flights with just an economy class cabin for all passengers, although they have always reserved the front rows for status passengers. Most likely they have decided to introduce a business class cabin also on the intra-European flights so passengers connecting to or from a longhaul flight in business class get a similar service on their shorthaul connecting flights in Europe.
There is just one row of business class on the intra-European flights, row 1. The standard configuration on the Airbus A320 is 3-3. In business class the middle seats are kept free which means there are four business class seats on each flight.
Travelling in shorthaul business class obviously also means you get the standard benefits on the ground such as priority check-in, lounge and priority boarding but you also get an enhanced service onboard. Usually something to drink before departure and then a snack during the flight, alternatively you get to choose something to eat or drink from the onboard menu (naturally free of charge). And of course you get more miles for the flight.
We will see if I will get the chance to try this some day. The business class fares I have found have been quite steep, especially as I get all the benefits on the ground anyway as a OneWorld top-tier frequent flyer, but it would be nice to try, perhaps in connection with a longhaul flight. With a bit of luck they will also introduce some discounted business class fares.